American country music star Dolly Parton has donated $1 million towards the development of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine.
In April, a month after the spread of the virus reached pandemic levels, the singer-songwriter donated the money to research after a friend at Tennessee's Vanderbilt University said they had been making some exciting developments.
In a trial involving 30,000 people in the US, with half being given two doses of the vaccine, four weeks apart, the Moderna vaccine was found to be 95 per cent effective.
Moderna says it will apply to regulators in the US in the coming weeks and expects to have 20 million doses available.
It 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 also announced that, from spring, it will have five million doses of the vaccine, enough to vaccinate 2.5 million people.
Ms Parton's donation has also supported research papers and a study into convalescent plasma, where infected people are treated with the plasma of others carrying antibodies against the virus.
She has been a longtime supporter of charities, especially those related to literacy. She established the Imagination Library in 1995, which sends one book per month to children from the time of their birth until they enter kindergarten.
Like Pfizer, which announced last week that it had developed a vaccine that is 90 per cent effective, Moderna released only early data from their trial. There is more work to be done before they will know if the vaccine really is safe and effective.