We can thank Dolly Parton for the coming COVID vaccine. Well, kind of.
It was revealed Tuesday that the $1 million the country music legend donated to coronavirus research back in April was used to partially fund the immunization research conducted by Moderna, the biotech company that has developed a vaccine with a 94.5% effectiveness rate against infection.
As Faithwire reported this spring, Parton chipped in what would be a small fortune to most of us, writing a $1 million check to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where researchers and scientists began searching for a cure for COVID-19. The beloved songwriter’s cash ultimately helped fund vaccination research for the pharmaceutical group Moderna.
Parton said she learned about how her money was used via social media.
“I’m just happy that anything I do can help somebody else,” she said Tuesday morning on NBC News. “When I donated the money to the COVID fund, I just wanted it to do good and evidently, it is!”
“Let’s just hope we find a cure real soon,” the 74-year-old Parton added.
As for Moderna’s vaccination, here’s how the trial went: there were 30,000 total participants, half receiving the trial vaccine and the other half receiving a placebo, or a shot with no immunization. All the recipients were then instructed to go about their lives normally. Ninety of those who received the placebo came down with COVID-19 infections, 11 of which were severe. Of the 15,000 who received the vaccine, however, only five contracted the virus, and their cases were mild or asymptomatic.
“This positive interim analysis from our Phase 3 study has given us the first clinical validation that our vaccine can prevent COVID-19 disease, including severe disease,” said Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel.
In addition, the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced shortly before Moderna it, too, has developed a vaccination with early results showing it to be 90% effective against infection.
Albert Bourla, chairman and CEO of Pfizer, congratulated Moderna on the development of its vaccine.
“I am thrilled to hear the good news coming out of [Moderna’s COVID-19] vaccine development program,” he wrote. “Our companies share a common goal – defeating this dreaded disease – and today we congratulate everyone at Moderna and share in the joy of their encouraging results.”
So here’s the bottom line: Not only did Dolly Parton give us her first Christmas album in 30 years, she might be getting us a vaccine, too.