It’s not often we hear news of Dolly Parton other than a brief television or cameo appearance here or there, but recently the 9-5 singer has made the news with her contribution to a coronavirus vaccine. The cure is the much hailed 95% effective Moderna vaccine, which Parton has now been credited with funding the critical early stages of. Parton received credit for her donation earlier this year in The New England Journal of Medicine, whose preliminary report on the Moderna vaccine notes Parton for her contribution to the Vanderbilt University Medical Centre. 

An unlikely friendship

The story of how the donation came to be arises from an unlikely friendship between Parton and a Dr. Naji Abumrad, a physician and professor of surgery at the Vanderbilt University Medical Centre. The pair met following an unfortunate – but luckily not too serious – car accident involving Parton in 2013, which left the singer with some minor injuries including a bruised cheek. According to Dr. Abumrad in a radio interview on NPR, the doctor and singer struck up a friendship based on their shared interests in science and current affairs. Their conversations have continued over the years and Parton was keen to contribute to the promising research on a coronavirus vaccine as described by Abumrad. The doctor is also quoted as telling the Washington Post that “Without a doubt in my mind, her funding made the research toward the vaccine go 10 times faster than it would be without it”.

What next?

The Moderna virus vaccine has since gone on to receive a staggering amount of interest thanks to the terrifically positive results of its initial development. It is estimated to have received roughly $1 billion in funding so far and it is hoped the vaccine will also make its way to developing countries in need, helping to end the coronavirus global pandemic crisis just that much sooner.