Dolly Parton donated $1 million to support the development of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine

The country icon said she was just "happy that anything I do can help somebody else", after her role in Moderna's vaccine effort was revealed.

Dolly Parton at an event in November 2019.

Dolly Parton at an event in November 2019. Source: Getty Images

Dolly Parton has emerged as an unexpected coronavirus hero, with fans celebrating the country icon after it was revealed that her research fund contributed to Moderna's promising experimental vaccine.

The singer's $1 million donation to the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation has helped support development of the vaccine, which was just announced as being 94.5 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 based on interim data.

Parton previously announced the Vanderbilt donation in April, saying they were making "some exciting advancements towards research of the coronavirus for a cure".

The Guardian reports her $1 million has also gone towards several research papers and a convalescent plasma study, which involves treating coronavirus sufferers with the plasma of people carrying antibodies against COVID-19.

News of Parton's contribution to the coronavirus fight delighted social media users, with many pointing out she has a history of good deeds.

Asked about the social media reaction on NBC's Today show, Parton said she just wanted her donation to do good - "and evidently, it is".

"I'm just happy that anything I do can help somebody else," she said.

"Let's just hope we find a cure real soon."

Dolly Parton donates $1m to help with Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

Moderna is the second American drugmaker after Pfizer to report exciting vaccine results, raising hopes that the US could have two vaccines authorised for emergency use in December.

But unlike Pfizer’s vaccine - which must be shipped and stored at -70C - Moderna’s shot can be stored at normal fridge temperatures, which should make it easier to distribute.

“We are going to have a vaccine that can stop COVID-19,” Moderna President Stephen Hoge said in a telephone interview.

Moderna’s preliminary analysis was based on 95 infections among trial participants who received the vaccine or a placebo. Only five infections occurred in volunteers who received the vaccine, which is administered in two shots 28 days apart.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

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Published 18 November 2020 at 10:01am
By Jodie Stephens