NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — In health headlines, Moderna has created the first COVID-19 vaccine that targets a variant, the CDC raises the travel warning to level two for overseas travel due to monkeypox and a cancer drug that eradicated tumors in a small trial.

Drug maker Moderna said its new combination vaccine is much more effective against the omicron variant and will likely produce more antibodies several months down the line. Experts say that could create a road map for a yearly vaccine, much like the flu vaccine.

“I think we can expect similar types of vaccines from other manufacturers as the pandemic progresses,” said Yale Medicine Physician Arjun Venkatesh.

The CDC has raised its travel alert to level two for monkeypox with the number of cases worldwide growing slowly, meaning Americans should take precautions when traveling overseas, but don’t need to cancel their plans.

The risk of infection is low but Venkatesh said to pay attention to mysterious rashes.

WEB EXTRA: Dr. Arjun Venkatesh, chief of Emergency Medicine Administration at Yale Medicine and associate professor at Yale School of Medicine, discusses COVID vaccine news

“Go see your doctor here in Connecticut. The Department of Public Health has put guidance out to doctors across the state to think about this. We’re selectively testing people that may have had risk factors or travel to certain parts of the world,” he said.

The medical community is watching the results of a colon cancer study at Memorial Sloane Kettering.
18 patients with cancerous tumors were treated with an experimental immunotherapy. All ended up cancer free.

“So this is a very small study. It’s really exciting. I would argue it’s probably not ready for prime time, it needs to be confirmed,” said Dr. Eric Winer, director of the Yale Cancer Center.

Only immunotherapy was used, no chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. Immunotherapy harnesses the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. The subset of patients all had tumors with a specific genetic mutation so it does not have widespread impact.

“This just one of many examples of new treatments that are coming out that are really making a difference in cancer and in many different kind of cancers,” Winer said.