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Who had Dolly Parton finding the cure for COVID-19 on their 2020 bingo card?
According to multiple reports, recent findings from the New England Journal of Medicine have identified the country music legend as a sponsor of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine after she donated to Vanderbilt University's coronavirus research fund earlier this year.
And Parton seems as surprised as anyone about her role in the scientific breakthrough.
"Yeah, that's what I understand this morning," she told NBC's "Today" Tuesday when asked about the buzz surrounding her donation. "I haven't read up enough. They told me that just before I went on the air that they may be asking me about that.
"I'm just happy that anything I do can help somebody else, and 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 find a cure real soon."
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. pic.twitter.com/dQgDWexO0C
— Dolly Parton (@DollyParton) November 17, 2020
In April, Parton gave $1 million to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in honor of her longtime friend, Dr. Naji N. Abumrad, a surgical professor at the Nashville college. At the time, the VUMC's COVID-19 relief efforts aimed to improve treatment for coronavirus patients until a vaccine was available.
Now it appears at least some of Parton's generous gift went to Moderna, which this week dubbed its COVID-19 vaccine 95% effective, according to preliminary data from tests conducted by the biotech giant.
Moderna's is one of two highly successful vaccines that experts say could be distributed starting as early as the end of this year.
“The results from Pfizer, and now Moderna, gives me a great deal of encouragement,” said Dr. Buddy Creech, director of the vaccine research program at VUMC.
“The effectiveness levels are beyond our expectations, giving us firm hope that we will see an end to the pandemic once widespread vaccination is possible.”
Naturally, Parton's fans were thrilled to learn of her latest philanthropic act, promptly flooding Twitter with praise for the "Holly Dolly Christmas" artist and certified national treasure.
"Yes, knowing Dolly Parton partially funded a vaccine DOES make me trust it even more," tweeted drag artist Courtney Conquers.
"Someone said cos Dolly Parton funded the covid cure we should be singing 'vaccine' to the tune of 'Jolene' and though I can't find your tweet please know it's ALL I've been doing this morning," tweeted TV writer Camilla Blackett.
Someone said cos Dolly Parton funded the covid cure we should be singing “vaccine” to the tune of “Jolene” and though I can’t find your tweet pls know it’s ALL I’ve been doing this morning.
— Camilla Blackett (@camillard) November 17, 2020
And Parton's VUMC donation isn't the only effort she's made to fight the COVID blues. Earlier this year, the Grammy winner joined the celebrity crusade to entertain quarantined families by reading children's books aloud from the safety of their homes.
Parton's "Goodnight With Dolly" series featured the icon reciting bedtime stories in her pajamas every Thursday for 10 weeks as part of her Imagination Library's ongoing mission to make literature accessible to kids around the world.
See more reactions to Parton's potentially life-saving contribution to coronavirus research below.
Dolly Parton can cure COVID but COVID could never write ‘Jolene’ and ‘I Will Always Love You’ in the same day!!!
— Zara Rahim (@ZaraRahim) November 17, 2020
Just a moment of profound gratitude to @DollyParton and her COVID-19 Research Fund.
— Esther Choo MD MPH (@choo_ek) November 17, 2020
The Moderna vaccine was developed with support from the Dolly Parton Covid-19 Research Fund pic.twitter.com/T3ERI7ofsZ
— Dr. Seema Yasmin (@DoctorYasmin) November 17, 2020
— Cathleen Decker (@cathleendecker) November 17, 2020
Turns out Dolly Parton did more to bring us a COVID vaccine than Donald Trump
— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) November 17, 2020
— 𝕂𝕚𝕞 🐝 𝔹𝕚𝕕𝕖𝕟 𝕎𝕠𝕟 🥳 (@ChaplainheArt) November 17, 2020
Dolly Parton is so great. God bless her every day. ❤️😍 https://t.co/zvmjgu7JLp
— Joy WE VOTED!! WEAR A MASK!! Reid 😷) (@JoyAnnReid) November 17, 2020
Dolly Parton helped fund the Moderna COVID vaccine, has donated more books than any person in the history of the planet, is one of the greatest recording artists and song writers in history but hasn't received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Meanwhile, Rush Limbaugh has. https://t.co/SkPP7wXggu
— Exiled From America (@chipinvegas) November 17, 2020
Give Dolly Parton the Nobel Peace Prize
— Morgan Jerkins (@MorganJerkins) November 17, 2020
Yes, knowing Dolly Parton partially funded a vaccine DOES make me trust it even more
— Courtney Conquers (@courtneyconquer) November 17, 2020
Dolly parton saving the world is the only predictable thing to happen in 2020 https://t.co/piehmM42Ct
— Robbie Couch (@robbie_couch) November 17, 2020
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.