‘So proud’: Dolly Parton’s association with Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine
US’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday approved its second vaccine candidate from Moderna against the coronavirus disease for emergency use. The vaccine, which has an efficiency rate of 94.1% and is bringing hope and good tidings to a world ravaged by the pandemic, has had a generous benefactor in Dolly Parton, known for her hit country numbers.
Parton had announced in April that she has donated $1 million to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, after her good friend Dr Naji Abumrad, a professor of surgery at the university, told her about the work researchers were doing to come up with an effective Covid-19 vaccine. A part of her donation eventually went into funding the initial research for Moderna’s vaccine. “I just felt so proud to have been part of that little seed money that will hopefully grow into something great and help to heal this world,” she said on BBC One’s The One Show in November.
Mark Denison, a professor of pathology, microbiology and immunology at Vanderbilt, told the New York Times that the contribution from the Dolly Parton Covid-19 Research Fund had helped finance the early stages of the vaccine trial before the US federal government’s investment of $1 million came through. Parton’s contribution is also funding a convalescent plasma study at Vanderbilt University.
“Her money helped us develop the test that we used to first show that the Moderna vaccine was giving people a good immune response that might protect them,” Denison was quoted by NYT in November.
The Jolene hitmaker is no stranger to the world of philanthropy as she has previously funded charities working with AIDS, and her Imagination library runs a book gifting program for children in five countries. Parton’s latest contributions have propelled her to new heights amongst her online fandom, many of whom have taken to social media to praise the country star.
The Moderna vaccine is very similar to the one developed by Pfizer Inc and Germany’s BioNTech, both use messenger RNA technology. However, the Moderna vaccine is easier to store since it does not need to be kept at freezing temperatures. The coronavirus pandemic has paralysed the United States, which has been logging 216,000 new cases to its tally every day.
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