The “9 to 5” hitmaker’s financial contribution is credited in footnotes of a new article in the New England Journal of Medicine, which reveals she helped with funding for research by Vanderbilt University Medical Centre, which was involved in trials for Moderna’s vaccination.
In the paper’s “funding and disclosures“ section, it’s revealed the donation came via ‘the Dolly Parton Covid-19 Research Fund (Vanderbilt University Medical Centre)’.
Earlier this year, the 74-year-old singer revealed her intention to donate US$1 million toward coronavirus cure research as the respiratory illness continued to spread across the globe.
Back in April, she tweeted:
“My longtime friend Dr Naji Abumrad, who’s been involved in research at Vanderbilt for many years, informed me that they were making some exciting advancements towards research of the coronavirus for a cure.
“I am making a donation of US$1 million to Vanderbilt towards that research and to encourage people that can afford it to make donations. (sic)”
And Dolly insisted the coronavirus pandemic is a “lesson” from God.
In an Instagram video, she sang: “Well hello it’s Dolly, climbing the stairway to heaven, because the virus has scared the h-e-l-l out of us.”
She then laughed: “I’m not making light of the situation. Well, maybe I am, because it’s the light, I believe that’s gonna dissolve the situation. I think God is in this, I really do.
“I think he’s trying to hold us up to the light so we can see ourselves and see each other through the eyes of love. And I hope we learn that lesson.”
Dolly assured fans people will be in a “better” place once the current situation is over.
She added: “I think that when this passes, we’re gonna all be better people.
“I know that I have a positive attitude about it, as negative as it seems to be right now.
“So just keep the faith, don’t be too scared, it’s gonna be alright, God loves us.”
Meanwhile a new vaccine that protects against Covid-19 is nearly 95 percent effective, early data from US company Moderna shows.
The results come hot on the heels of similar results from Pfizer, and add to growing confidence that vaccines can help end the pandemic.
Both companies used a highly innovative and experimental approach to designing their vaccines.
Moderna says it is a ”great day” and they plan to apply for approval to use the vaccine in the next few weeks.
However, this is still early data and key questions remain unanswered.
How good is it?
The trial involved 30 000 people in the US with half being given two doses of the vaccine, four weeks apart. The rest had dummy injections.
The analysis was based on the first 95 to develop Covid-19 symptoms.
Only five of the Covid-19 cases were in people given the vaccine, 90 were in those given the dummy treatment. The company says the vaccine is protecting 94,5 percent of people.
The data shows there were 11 cases of severe Covid-19 in the trial, but none happened in people who were immunised.
“The overall effectiveness has been remarkable . . . it’s a great day,” Tal Zaks, the chief medical officer at Moderna, told BBC News.
Dr Stephen Hoge, the company’s president, said he “grinned ear to ear for a minute” when the results came in.
He told BBC News: “I don’t think any of us really hoped that the vaccine would be 94 percent effective at preventing Covid-19 disease, that was really a stunning realisation.”
When will I get it?
That depends on where you are in the world and how old you are.
Moderna says it will apply to regulators in the US in the coming weeks. It expects to have 20 million doses available in the country.
The company hopes to have up to one billion doses available for use around the world next year and is planning to seek approval in other countries too. The UK has today announced that, from spring, it will have five million doses of the Moderna vaccine, enough to vaccinate 2,5 million people.
“It has already outlined plans that prioritise the oldest people for immunisation.
What don’t we know?
We still do not know how long immunity will last as volunteers will have to be followed for much longer before that can be answered.
There are hints it offers some protection in older age groups, who are most at risk of dying from Covid-19, but there is not full data.
Mr Zaks told the BBC their data so far suggests the vaccine “does not appear to lose its potency” with age.
It is not known whether the vaccine just stops people becoming severely ill, or if it stops them spreading the virus too.
All these questions will affect how a coronavirus vaccine is used.
Are there any side effects?
No significant safety concerns have been reported, but nothing, including paracetamol, is 100 percent safe.
Short lived fatigue, headache and pain were reported after the injection in some patients.
“These effects are what we would expect with a vaccine that is working and inducing a good immune response,” said Prof Peter Openshaw, from Imperial College London.
How does this compare to the Pfizer vaccine?
Both vaccines use the same approach of injecting part of the virus’s genetic code in order to provoke an immune response. The preliminary data we have seen so far is very similar — around 90 percent protection for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and around 95 percent for Moderna’s.
However, both trials are still taking place and the final numbers could change.
Moderna’s vaccine appears to be easier to store as it remains stable at minus 20C for up to six months and can be kept in a standard fridge for up to a month.
Pfizer’s vaccine needs ultra-cold storage at around minus 75C, but it can be kept in the fridge for five days.
The Sputnik V vaccine, developed in Russia, has released very early data which suggests it is 92 percent effective.
When will Covid be over?
In the space of a week, the positive results from Pfizer, Moderna and Russia have transformed our chances of ending the pandemic.
Before the first results, the talk was of a
vaccine that offered maybe 50 percent protection.
Those expectations have been blown out of the water — not only are vaccines possible, they appear to be potent.
The data so far also raise hopes that the other vaccines in development will be successful too, but now as one challenge draws to an ends, another begins.
The logistical effort of actually vaccinating, potentially billions of people, around the world is gargantuan.
Some experts have claimed normality by spring, others by next winter, others still think there is a long journey ahead.
The answer will depend on how quickly countries can get this “hope in a vial” into the arms of people.
What reaction has there been?
“This news from Moderna is tremendously exciting and considerably boosts optimism that we will have a choice of good vaccines in the next few months,” said Prof Peter Openshaw from Imperial College London.
“We need more complete details than we have in this press release, but this announcement adds to the general feeling of optimism.”
Prof Trudie Lang, from the University of Oxford, said: “It is very good news indeed to see another vaccine coming through with similar efficacy results as were reported last week from Pfizer. This is also an interim analysis, which means that there were enough cases within the vaccinated volunteers to give statistical significance and allow the team to break the blind to determine who had the active vaccine and who had placebo.”
Dr Richard Hatchett, the head of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, said: “The Moderna results are as good as we could have hoped for and really terrifically encouraging.” — IOL