It's becoming clearer and clearer that COVID-19 will never resolve itself without a vaccine.
The pandemic has had the entire globe scrambling in order to find a solution to this deadly disease, which has killed over 200,000 Americans—even some North Dakotans who, according to one nurse, insisted that the disease wasn't real up until their dying breaths.
Last week, Pfizer made headlines when it unveiled a vaccine it said was 90% effective, but reports of various side effects quickly undermined confidence in it. Then, Russian company Sputnik V announced a vaccine with 92% effectiveness, though that figure faced scrutiny because of the study's small sample size.
This week, however, a new vaccine contender has emerged: Moderna, which just announced a 94.5% effectiveness rate in a clinical trial. The company began testing on human subjects back in March, and has since surged ahead as one of the virus's most promising combatants.
One patron in particular was instrumental to its efforts: an American hero named Dolly Parton.
In April, Parton donated $1 million to a COVID-19 research program at Vanderbilt University, which helped create the Moderna vaccine. Apparently, Parton heard about the program through Dr. Naji Abumrad, who treated Parton at Vanderbilt after a car accident in 2014. The two remained friends, and when Amraud mentioned some "exciting advancements" in the vaccine process, Parton decided to donate the money. A recently released paper on the vaccine cites Parton's fund as one of Moderna's major donors.
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… https://t.co/Mn4KoAUEuw— Dolly Parton (@Dolly Parton)1605631620.0
Of course, finding a successful vaccine is the easy part. Now, should the vaccine be green-lit, Moderna will face massive distribution challenges, not to mention the difficulty of persuading all Americans to take the vaccine at all.
Still, if anyone can cure COVID-19, it's probably Dolly. It's been a great year in a great life for the iconic country musician, who made Stephen Colbert cry with a folk song earlier this month.
Dolly Parton's Mom Used To Sing Songs That Told Great Stories www.youtube.com
Parton's big-hearted activism is well-documented. Earlier this year, Parton came out in strong support of the Black Lives Matter movement. She's also the founder of Imagination Library, which has donated over 150 million books.
The 74-year-old singer, who recently said she hasn't "got time to be old," is responsible for hits including "Jolene," "I Will Always Love You," and the Dollywood theme park. This year, she's releasing a Christmas album and will be playing an angel in Netflix's holiday musical, Christmas On the Square.
Get you a woman who can do it all 😉 https://t.co/sG4OHpVgxM— Dolly Parton (@Dolly Parton)1579629662.0
As critic Simon Price wrote, "In 2020, Dolly Parton's stood up for Black Lives Matter and put $1 million towards a Covid vaccine, and the year's not over yet. There's a strong argument that America should give up the whole 'democracy' thing as a bad idea now, and just make Dolly Parton queen of everything."
In 2020, Dolly Parton's stood up for Black Lives Matter and put $1 million towards a Covid vaccine, and the year's… https://t.co/3nJfD0nkBY— Simon Price (@Simon Price)1605604517.0
Dolly Parton for president doesn't sound like the worst idea. After all, her story is inspiring. After early screens of the movie Hillbilly Elegy was universally panned by critics, some argued that we should look to Dolly Parton's life story as an actual example of someone who grew up in Appalachia. "Why would anyone seek answers about life in Appalachia from a right-wing former venture capitalist, when they could put on a Dolly Parton record instead?" writes Marianela D'Aprile, adding that "Benevolent rich people can never be a substitute for a real welfare state. Still, at this point, Dolly may be better at emergency relief than the US government."
Dolly Parton on Black Lives Matter: "Do We Think Our Little White Asses Are the Only Ones That Matter?"