The world of Resident Evil is plagued by viruses. The vast majority of the ones featured in the series are actually created by the Umbrella Corporation in attempt to make Bio Weapons like Nemesis and Mr X. It can actually get quite confusing to follow, so let’s break down every virus in Resident Evil.
The Progenitor Virus was discovered all the way back in 1967 (the first games take place in the late 90’s). You may also hear the Progenitor Virus also known as the Founder Virus or the Mother Virus. It was found by the founders of Umbrella, who had differing ideas of what to do with it. One of the three founders wanted to use the healing capabilities of the virus to help the handicapped, whereas the other two founders wanted to of course, make bio weapons. I won’t spoil things but I think you know which way the virus ended up going, and eventually it was used in experiments on humans.
The virus mutates its host’s genetic code, but unlike later viruses, it was too hard to control, and wasn’t a viable solution to create suitable bio weapons. The founders also synthesised the Progenitor Virus with the Ebola Virus to create an even stronger version.
Pretty much every virus in Resident Evil comes from the Progenitor in some for or another.
The T-Virus, also known as the Tyrant Virus, was created by synthesising the Progenitor Virus with leech DNA. This is the virus that you’ll see most frequently as you play through the Resident Evil franchise, especially in the earlier games. The virus’ key feature is that it can re-animate dead tissue, which basically means it turns things into zombies. The virus replaces mitochondria in the host’s cells, and then combines with them to create a very small amount of energy. This small amount of energy is used to provide movement and very low brain activity, very Zombie-like, right? The zombies look so gross due to the necrosis that still takes place.
The virus destroys the host’s frontal lobes and hypothalamus, which basically mean the host becomes increasingly aggressive and very hungry at all times. Things are lining up nicely to create the ultimate zombie, aren’t they?
There is a vaccine called Daylight, but it must be taken before the virus takes full control of the host. There was also another successful vaccine created in the Raccoon General Hospital in Resident Evil 3, but that didn’t leave the city.
This is where things start to get confusing, as there are multiple strands of the T-Virus. The T-Veronica Virus was featured in Code Veroinca, and is the result of synthesising the Progenitor Virus with the gene of a queen ant that housed an ‘ancient’ virus. Yeah I know, it’s bizzare. The virus causes rapid mutation like usual, but uniquely, the infection can be controlled and you can stay in control, if the virus takes a long time to take over. The virus gave its host a bunch of abilities which I won’t spoil, except for that it also allowed the host to control a hive mind of ants who they extracted the ancient virus from.
Basically, the T-Veronica Virus allows you to mind-control things, and if it spreads, could in theory lead to an entire world controlled by one ‘Queen Ant’ so to speak, but the rate of infection being so low AND slow, means it wasn’t a suitable bio weapon solution.
This one is quite a big deal, in fact it’s probably the virus that makes the most impact on stand out individuals in the series. The NE-T Virus was created especially for the Tyrant Project. The NE-T Virus was a result of work between two teams to create a bio weapon capable of heightened intelligence and more power. Umbrella Corp needed to be able to efficiently control their bio weapons, of course. The first result was the T-002 Tyrant, who could follow very basic instructions, but couldn’t be used for a true mission. Eventually they created the T-103 variants (Mr X) – who could follow more instructions, and had a set goal – namely to wipe out opposition to Umbrella.
An even better variant was also created by fusing the Nemesis Alpha parasite with the NE-T Virus, the parasite had the ability to act as a work-around to the usual brain damage suffered from the T-Virus, and also allowed extra control. This meant that these Tyrants, known as the Nemesis-T Type, had some self-awareness, and could actually handle weapons.
This strain was created in an attempt to cure the T-Virus, but instead mutated the body further. It also allowed the host’s consciousness to become encoded within its cells, meaning that as long as the host has a viable transfer option, they are effectively immortal.
This mutagen was created in an attempt to cure cancer. It succeeded in that respect, but also killed its host.
The Prototype Virus was a strain created and given to the Weskers, which gave them superhuman abilities. The virus gives them super strength, speed, agility, healing and endurance. This means that the host can survive normally fatal encounters. It also makes the host’s eyes glow an orange colour, and to look more reptile-like, but apart from that, there are no other physical deformations.
The T-Abyss Virus was created by merging a virus that allows fish to survive at very low depth, which the T-Virus. The virus would cause extreme mutations, and continues once the host dies, usually ending up with aquatic characteristics.
The G-Virus was developed to surpass the T-Virus, but it acts in a completely different way. G-Virus causes extreme mutations, and does so whilst the host is still alive. It’s another mutagen of the Progenitor virus, and was created by William Birkin after researching the Nemesis Alpha parasite. Transmission is caused by implantation or ingestion instead of physical contact like the T-Virus. Not all people are compatible however, and if they aren’t, the G-embryo of the virus will simply grow rapidly and burst out of the body of its failed host.
The A-Virus was created by Glenn Arias as part of a cult to wipe out human life. There are three variants to this virus, each that effects people in different ways. The virus caused the usual mutations and created plenty of zombies.
The C-Virus is a genome containing parts of both T-Veronica and G-Virus. It allowed hosts to remain intellegent to some degree, but caused plenty of mutations. The virus spreads through both injection, and exposure in a cloud-like form, it cannot spread via bites. It is even strong enough to revive the dead centuries after they passed.
This virus was created by Albert and Alex Wesker. It was initially too deadly for any host, but after synthesising with Jill Valentine’s T-Virus antibodies, it became somewhat viable. Hosts that could survive the infection gained superhuman abilities, but those who didn’t, died horrible deaths.
As the name suggests, this virus was an experiemnt in which the T-Virus was exposed to antibodies designed to fight the G-Virus. Weirdly, this one gave the host electrical abilities, meaning it could repel projectiles with an electromagnetic field.
So there you have it, that’s every virus in Resident Evil lore as of now, there are some non-canon viruses, and others that never got further than the experimental stage, but you can look those up on the wiki if you fancy it!
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