His research on non-addictive painkillers has now earned him a spot as one of six finalists in the prestigious Siemens Science Competition, which awards its winning student $100,000 in scholarship funds.
“The end product will hopefully be some sort of pill, vaccine, maybe a spray or something that can be used by people who are suffering from pain,” Tripathi told local ABC affiliate KATU.
The high school senior's research has been targeting anandamide, a compound that the body naturally releases to ease pain. He hypothesizes that by increasing levels of the compound in the body, he could effectively create a non dependency-forming pain relief medication.
According to Siemens Foundation president Jeniffer Harper Taylor, Tripathi's research is at the level of scientists with Ph.D. degrees.
Tripathi's findings has the potential to benefit thousands of Americans. According toAssociated Press data analysis, sales of painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone have increased sixteenfold between 2000 and 2010 in some parts of the U.S. Overdose rates and incidences of pharmacy robberies have also risen during this period.
Tripathi will present his work alongside the other finalists on December 3 in Washington D.C. The presentations and awards the following day will be live-streamed online. According to the young scientist's Twitter, he's already gearing up for the big day.