Dolly Parton has played an important role in funding research which helped to develop a successful Covid-19 vaccine.
The New England Journal of Medicine revealed that the country icon had donated $1 million towards the Vanderbilt University Medical Center since the start of the pandemic, an institution which was key in the development of a vaccine from U.S. biotechnology firm Moderna.
Announced on November 16, the Moderna immunisation is said to be 95% successful in protecting against the disease, closely following the announcement of a separate vaccine from pharmaceutical firm Pfizer last week. ‘Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund’ is credited in the footnotes of the medical journal, confirming that the singer’s donations had directly helped towards the development.
This is the latest example of Parton’s well-known philanthropy, having previously set up the Imagination Library, a programme which gifts free books to children from birth until starting school.
Moderna has said it could potentially produce one billion doses of the vaccine by the end of 2021 and is applying for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
News of a vaccine has brought about a sense of hope within many of the industries hit hardest by the pandemic. Earlier in the month, it was revealed that the share prices of various live entertainment companies had surged following the news that Pfizer and BioNTech were seeking approval for a COVID-19 vaccine which is reportedly 90% effective in preventing people from contracting coronavirus.
Speaking to the BBC, UK vaccine expert Sir John Bell, suggested that life could begin to return to normal by Spring 2021.