03:45 GMT28 November 2020
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    Dolly Parton, the much beloved author of "I Will Always Love You" and "Jolene", injected a hefty sum into the Vanderbilt University Medical Centre months ago, as it was spearheading coronavirus research, which ultimately supported the development of the Moderna vaccine.

    Fans of country music icon Dolly Parton have been crediting her with saving the world from the raging coronavirus ever since the drugmaker Moderna reported the positive results of their vaccine trials.

    Parton's name is featured in the preliminary report on the Moderna vaccine among sponsors like the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, headed by the nation's foremost infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci, and Emory University.

    The musician donated $1 million to the Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in honour of her friend, Vanderbilt professor of surgery Dr Naji Abumrad, back in April, less than a month after the WHO declared the coronavirus a pandemic.

    "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 can find a cure real soon", the singer and philanthropist, who just released her 47th solo album, "A Holly Dolly Christmas", tweeted, sending crowds of netizens into exultation.

    "I would like to officially nominate Dolly Parton for Time's Person of the Year", one posted, with another weighing in along the same lines:

    "And a Presidential Medal of Freedom".

    "Shakespeare may have written King Lear during the plague, but Dolly Parton funded a COVID vaccine, dropped a Christmas album, and a Christmas special", the author Lyz Lenz posted in admiration.

    Safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine for COVID-19 at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle
    © AP Photo / Ted S. Warren
    Safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine for COVID-19 at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle

    Many more echoed the stance, referring to the 74-year-old singer as "an angel walking the Earth", "sweet Dolly", "true icon and hero", and lauding the way such hefty donations would help scientists arrive at an appropriate vaccine and effective COVID therapy.

    Parton's contribution, which is now referred to as the Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund, helped cover the expenses for the first part of the vaccine research. Although the federal government then pumped another $1 billion into the creation of the vaccine, leading researcher Dr Mark Denison stressed it was Ms Parton's investment that funded the "critical" early stages of his team's work.

    The US drugmaker Moderna, which reported a vaccine breakthrough after Russia's Gamaleya Centre and American firm Pfizer announced theirs, said on Monday citing early data that their vaccine is 94.5% effective against coronavirus. It said it was aiming to produce 1 billion doses of the medication by late 2021 and is now applying for Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


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