Resident Evil FAQ or manual

Last updated, 12th of October 2004.

This Resident Evil Virus FAQ, or guide, is a way of documenting what exactly each virus in the main series does. I will attempt to portray a concise picture of each virus, based on what information is available, and also dispel whatever confusion (and I’m sure there is much confusion, given the plots of Resident Evil) there is about them. I’ve tried to provide evidence where I can, so people don’t rush along and try to contradict me on every sentence because they have some whacked up theory. Of course, if you have reason to believe that something here is wrong, or you have more information to add, feel free to tell me and I’ll make amendments where they are due.

This FAQ covers:
– ‘Mother’ Virus
– Progenitor Virus
– ‘Original’ T-virus
– T-virus
– T-Veronica
– Nemesis Parasite
– G-Virus
– Wesker’s virus
– RE4 virus, aka ‘Angry villager syndrome’

Hope this FAQ is useful and answers whatever questions you may have 🙂

Contact: attlee(at)

Founders: Spencer and Edward Ashford. If any others were involved, they are not mentioned by name.
Date of founding: Unknown. All we know is that it was founded before the creation of Umbrella, and before the founding of the T-Virus.
Method of Creation: Unknown. Marcus and Spencer may either have discovered a pre-existing virus or created something new, we don’t know.
Known subjects: None. The Mother Virus is only mentioned twice, once by Alexander and once by Billy. There are no records the Mother Virus being tested on any living organisms. Actually, there are no test records whatsoever.

(First things first, I would like to say that I’d like to gouge Alexander Ashford’s eyes out with a rusty spoon for writing his damn memo, because it only serves to confuse the whole Progenitor thing even more than it already is)

One can attribute Wesker calling the Progenitor virus the ‘Founder Virus’ as a difference in translation from the Japanese files, but the supposed ‘Mother Virus’ is a bit more tricky. Alexander attributes the founding to Edward Ashford and Spencer, which clashes with Marcus’s diary entry if the PV and MV were to be the same thing.

Alexander’s diary:
“My father, Edward, discovered the mother virus in cooperation with Lord Spencer, who was also a nobleman.”

Initially this gives the impression that the Mother Virus and Progenitor are indeed two different things. However, what Alexander says after this makes that statement somewhat confusing:

“[Edward and Spencer] studied it for the purpose of military use. Eventually their study took shape. They named a variation of the mother virus, the “T-virus”. To camouflage their research, they established Umbrella Chemical, Inc.”

From this one would undoubtedly infer that the Mother Virus is, in fact, the Progenitor Virus. In that case, Billy’s comment about the ‘Mother virus’ at Marcus’s lab would make much more sense in that he’s referring to the research Marcus carried out on the Progenitor Virus. But then that begs the question of why a) Marcus never mentions Edward, and why b) Alexander never mentions Marcus. One can put down Marcus’s lapse to the fact that he refers to the founders as the collective “we”, and thus never mentions anyone by name. One can also put down Alexander’s lapse to Spencer’s revisionist history since he does not mention Marcus in the founding of Umbrella either. But then you’re still left without a clear picture. Spencer has never been attributed with the creation of the T-virus before, and Edward is hardly mentioned, except that he was a founder of the T-Virus project. One would hope that Alexander actually knew what his father did, but what he says in the memo brings that into question. Given that Alexander directly says that the T-virus came from the Mother Virus, I’m inclined to believe that he (like everyone else, seemingly) is simply giving the name of the Progenitor virus their own little spin. Billy’s word can’t really be taken as fact, since he’s not obviously involved. Until it’s revealed that he’s a secret Umbrella agent or something like that, I’ll put it down to ignorance and say he meant the Progenitor virus. Progenitor is also a rather specific term, so ‘Mother’ may well be a general reference.

Founders: Marcus, Spencer and Edward Ashford (Weskers 2nd report informs us of the latter).
Date of founding: 4th of December, year unknown. Most likely in the mid to late 60’s, since the diary entry takes place before the founding of Umbrella.
Method of creation: Unknown. Possibly through experimentation with the Mother virus, although given the above information, they may be the one and same anyway.
Known subjects: Lisa Trevor, Jessica Trevor, insects, frogs and monkeys.

n. 1.A direct ancestor.
2.An originator of a line of descent; a precursor.
3.An originator; a founder: progenitors of the new music.

Little is known about the ‘Founder virus’, as it is called by Wesker in his 2nd report, although at least this time there are no discrepancies as to who created it. According to Marcus anyway.

Marcus’s Diary:
“We finally did it…. the new virus! We have called it the “Progenitor”. I want to carry it back and start detailed investigations immediately.”

The Progenitor virus was to be the base for Marcus’s T virus, although one file puts the “progenitor” as being an early stage T virus. I put that down to ambiguous wording and random plot-hole attempts, however, and the fact that Birkin was attributed with the T-Virus founding. Marcus’s T-virus may well have been considered a prototype for Birkin’s research. Unless, of course, they were just talking about the Progenitor as a precursor to the T-virus.

“There we found evidence of Dr. Marcus’ research into the T-Virus prototype called “Progenitor””

We do know from Wesker’s 2nd report that it is an RNA virus similar to Ebola, but its exact properties or propensity for mutation are not fully known. Lisa Trevor was infected with the virus early on and seemed to suffer little side-effects, although one can’t say for sure if that was because of the virus itself or the G-virus which was found in her. It can be deduced that the Progenitor virus does affect human behavior however, since when Lisa was first injected with it, her behavior altered; she began to attack researchers and rip off their faces. She regressed during her years of treatment, but the behavior resurfaced again after the Nemesis injection. There must have been something unsuitable for the Progenitor virus as far as biological weapons were concerned, since various researchers struggled to improve upon it. But it’s exact properties are as-of-yet unknown.

There are a few articles in 0 which allude to the capabilities of the Progenitor Virus.

“When the Progenitor virus is administrated to living organisms [non-human, in this case], violent cellular changes cause a breakdown in the system, Furthermore, no satisfactory method has been found to control the organisms for use as weapons. Clearly, greater co-ordination at the cellular level is essential to enable further growth.

– Perhaps because of these ancient animals have been genetically stable for millennia, when administered with the progenitor virus they exhibited only explosive high-energy growth and increased aggressiveness. It is extremely difficult to envision using them as a BOW.

– Injecting a frog with the virus resulted in an increase in leaping power and abnormal tongue growth. However, no change in mental ability is observed. Furthermore, an abnormal resulted in the test subject randomly attacking all moving objects. Usefulness for BOW is limited.

-The progenitor virus was merged with the monkey’s cellular DNA, resulting in an increase in fertility. The resulting young exhibited improved aggressiveness and some increased mental capacity. (As a side effect, the visual power was lost, but this offset by an improvement in hearing ability). However, they were unsatisfactory as weapons. It does seem that no progress can be made without making humans as the base organism.”

Marcus also administered the T-virus to his leeches, although given that the T-virus was a mix of the Progenitor and Leech DNA, one can infer information about the Progenitor virus from them (I mean, what is leech DNA going to do to a leech anyway?).

“…they [learned] from experience, and are beginning to exhibit group attack behavior. They are also ceasing cannibalism. Their evolution is exceeding expectations… The leeches no longer exhibit individual behavior, even when not feeding, they move as a collective. They consume everything I offer with remarkable efficiency.”

There is also one article in the Remake regarding the administration of the virus to Lisa and Jessica Trevor.

“Nov. 10, 1967
– Progenitor virus administered
Administered virus: Type-A
Plasmolyzing of tissue during cell activation
Virus fusion: Negative
Action: Disposed

Administered virus: Type-B
Plasmolyzing of tissue during cell activation
Virus fusion: Positive but delayed fusion.
Body modification: Observed constant results.
Status: Continue protective observation.”

It seems credible to say that while the Progenitor virus caused changes in cells, it was not the degenerative type which was to be found in Birkin’s subsequent T-virus. But there seems to be an emphasis on mental changes within infected subjects. Lisa’s abnormal and aggressive behavior, the new-found group mentality of the Leeches, etc… A possible reason of why the Progenitor virus was improved upon was because it lacked desired physical mutations, and made the subjects mentally unstable and prone to aggression.

Founder: Marcus
Date of founding: 19th of September, year unknown. Most likely late 70’s, as the diary entry records it as being after the founding of Umbrella and the construction of the Arklay laboratories.
Method of creation: Mixing the Progenitor Virus with the genetic material of leeches.
Known subjects: Assistant researchers, rats. Primarily leeches, since Marcus was obsessed with them.

“At last.. I’ve discovered a way to build a new virus type with “Progenitor” as a base. Mixing it with leech DNA was a breakthrough I needed.. I call this new virus “T”, for “Tyrant”.”

Marcus was taken over by one of his subject leeches after his assassination by Spencer. He subsequently underwent an amazing face-lift on Capcom’s part, managing to have some overlord power over a horde of leeches. Quite possibly one of the strangest virus’s seen so far, although Marcus’s corpse being taken over could have implications with the parasitic qualities of the Nemesis virus (speculation on my part…). Leeches seem able to replicate the appearance of Marcus down to his wrinkles and bald head, create humanoid structures, propagate through eggs and possibly rejuvenate cell structures. It’s also highly likely that they can infect people through touch.

“Rumour has it that there’s something dangerous about those leeches. It is true that when Dennis just touched one, he got ill with a fever. Again today.. There were those horrible moans. Beyond that door, “let sleeping dogs…” No way I’ll go near them. Even if the Director tells me, I no way want to end up like Dennis. That poor bastard. Scratching and scratching. Makes me itch just watching him.”

I’ll assume that Billy and Rebecca not being infected is just due to the Super!Immunity granted to all Resident Evil characters.

The founding of the T-virus is sometimes attributed to Birkin in later documents, probably a part of Spencer’s plan to erase Marcus from Umbrella’s history. Also there is evidence to support that Marcus’s research wasn’t as close a held secret as he would have liked, and that Spencer or Birkin were able to get hold of parts of his research for their own T-Virus project.

Marcus’s Diary
“January 31st.
The devices I set to protect my work have been disturbed, it appears someone came looking for “T” and the leeches. Fool. No doubt it’s Spencer’s group.

February 11th
Today, I again found evidence of tampering around the entrance to the labs. If that is what they’re after, I must find a suitable way to deal with them. Perhaps I should have William and Albert smoke out the pest…”

Founder: Birkin.
Date of Founding: Unknown. Some time between Marcus founding the original T-virus and his death.
Method of Creation: Mixing the original T-virus with the Ebola virus.
Known subjects: Humans (Zombies and subsequent Tyrants), dogs (MA-39 Cerberus), reptiles (later to become the MA-121 Hunter), sharks (Fi-3 Neptune), snakes, insects, plants (Plant 42).

“In order to manufacture the ‘Human Biological Weapon’ from the ‘Founder Virus’, it was necessary to develop a variant with that particular peculiarity enhanced. That was the T-Virus project…. Birkin wondered if he could combine the mutated ‘Founder Virus’ to enhance its peculiarity. The sample of Ebola Virus had already arrived at his laboratory”

There are several strains of the T-Virus, but the one most widely seen in the game is the one Birkin created by mixing the Ebola virus with the “mutated ‘Founder Virus'”, which is most probably a strain of Marcus’s T-Virus. Given the wording, it’s possible that the Progenitor virus was the base, but one would be inclined to believe that by the time Birkin got his hands on it, enough progress had been made to have altered it to at least a prototype T-virus stage. The difference with Birkin’s T-virus and Marcus’s is that Marcus was obsessed with the leeches he used, and thus never really strayed his research out of that particular sphere. Birkin, on the other hand, worked under Spencer’s orders to develop it to be more potent, experimenting more with developing Tyrants and the like. Also, since Marcus ceased research upon his death, the virus which leaked from his lab is different to that which leaked from Birkin’s lab in Raccoon City.

The virus itself is a degenerative one which attacks the hosts cells and makes their level of intelligence decline, creating the well known ‘zombies’. In a few cases, if the hosts genetic material is suitable enough, then they will become a Tyrant. However the success rate for Tyrants was so low that it led to a standstill in Birkin’s research for several years. The T-Virus has a large potential for infecting other species, and the results are mostly predictable. The way it is transmitted from host to host really depends on the plot, so finding a definitive answer is near impossible. Further mutation of the host can be achieved through external influences.

In addition to that, several advancements were made with successful subjects of the T-Virus.

According to Wesker, the Hunters were a side project of Birkin’s using a sort of cross-genetic program with humans infected by the T-virus, and presumably reptilian genetic information.

“Apart from Spencer’s intention, Birkin was engineering a biological weapon with increased emphasis on its ability to fight. He was trying to create it not only through mutating human genes with the T-Virus, but also by adding another creature’s genetic information. The fighting living biological weapon would kill all human being, including those wearing body armor, or equipped with biological warfare suits and those humans who escaped from death through infection. It was later called ‘The Hunter’”

Crimson heads: “There is now evidence that when the host loses consciousness, the body goes into a dormant state. During this time the virus becomes active and rapidly transforms and reconstructs the basic composition of the body. The host eventually mutated into a humanoid creature. (We call them V- ACTs). Its speed and amazing muscular development are particularly noteworthy. After transformation, it becomes more agile and aggressive. Already four of our researchers have died from trying to feed it, turning the place into an instant blood bath. (Ever since this tragic and barbaric accident, we have decided to call its kind “Crimson Heads”)”.

The appearance of the Crimson Heads lends one to think that Lickers are the more advanced form of this, although other documentation refutes this assumption; Lickers are merely zombies which have been inflicted with a double dose of the T-virus. Although given the ‘regeneration’, as it were, of normal zombies into Crimson Heads, the Licker evolution theory does have its merits.

Crustacean T-Virus:
This document appears in 0, and the virus was being worked on around the time of the 1998 breakout. We don’t really know which lab was working on this project, since all we know is that the investigation was carried out by Umbrella. It’s most likely Birkin’s lab, although the fact that they specifically refer to the “Raccoon city” newspapers and TV stations does suggest that they’re an out-of-towner. Possibly a project that was being worked on in a European lab, but again, we really don’t know. Ths document is, for the most part, merely a how-to-kill sheet for the scorpion mini-boss, so it may have no relative significance at all.

“July 16th
Unfortunately, the test production of B.O.W. (Type-Y139) had to be suspended because of this investigation. It’s the same with Type-Y139. There’s still so much we don’t know about responses to the crustacean T-virus. There’s a lot of interesting research left depending on the species and nurturing conditions, only minute doses of T bring about remarkable changes in solidity, size, multiplication of internal toxins, and brain development. If these effects can be controlled, a powerful weapon could be produced. But the sudden development of the shell results in a corresponding fragility. Certain areas become exceedingly weak. Problematically, one of these areas is the head carapace. This lab we are going to-were they pursuing the same research? It would certainly help to find data and samples that would help us in our research.

July 19th
The day is finally approaching… I am growing more anxious. The Raccoon City newspapers and TV stations are full of reports about bizarre murders in the suburbs. It can’t be the virus. Can it? If it is… No. I can’t think of that now. I have to concentrate on this investigation and make sure it goes smoothly.”

Founder: Alexia Ashford
Date of Founding: No exact date is given, but it would have had to have been between 1981-83
Method of Creation: Mixing the T-Virus with an ancient virus found in a queen ant.
Known Subjects: Alexander Ashford, Alexia Ashford, Steve Burnside.

“After discovering the remains of an ancient virus within the genes of a queen ant, I have been concentrating on the research of ants. The ecosystem of the ants seems truly ideal to me. There is one queen ant in each anthill, and the soldier and worker ants are the queen’s slaves.”

Although the virus she worked with to create Veronica is never named, it can be assumed from the suffix that it was the T-virus. Research on it appeared to be somewhat of an ‘in’ thing as well, according to her father, Alexander.

“…We are now at a major disadvantage against the other researchers, as there is great competition in the field of T-virus research. I have disgraced the honourable name of the Ashford family that out great ancestor Veronica established. If nothing is done, Umbrella will be taken over by Spencer.”

Alexia (well.. and Steve too, I suppose, but he died.) is the only person to be fully and successfully infected with it, and it requires quite a long stint of hibernation for the virus to propagate itself in the host without being rejected.

“I will suppress the activity of the virus at an ultra-low temperature, so that my cells will change slowly. My calculations indicate that it will take 15 years before my body will gain immunity, and become able to coexist with the virus.”

It was quite powerful and effective when it actually worked, giving Alexia a kind of control-over-lesser-drones sort of thing, and let her fling burning substances from her hands. But given the propensity for rejection unless given long amounts of time for the body to accommodate the virus, it was pretty useless.

“I used my otherwise useless father as a test subject. However, as I expected, the virus caused a rapid change in his cells, triggering the complete destruction of his brain cells and body flesh.”

Wesker currently has a sample of the T-Veronica virus, however, thanks to Steve’s corpse. If he really is dead, that is (you can never be sure these days)

Founder: Unknown. Researched in the French laboratories.
Date of Founding: Unknown. A prototype was made available to the Arklay labs in 1988, so it would have been created around that time.
Method of Creation: Unknown. All we know is that it’s a ‘third generation B.O.W’
Known subjects: Lisa Trevor, humans, whoever Nemesis is in 3….

Woe is the poor person who gets infected with this, as it makes you look like the product of a child who’s had too much fun with the play-doh and a garlic crusher. The maker of the Nemesis is unknown, as it was developed in Europe in the Paris facilities. The ‘Nemesis Project’ was an attempt to create a third generation B.O.W, which looking at the lineage would lend one to suspect that it was a product of the 2nd generation Progenitor Virus (does anyone really know where Marcus and Spencer worked before moving to the Arklay region labs anyway?). Or, depending on your views on the Mother Virus/Progenitor Virus thing, it could be a product of the T-virus. Wesker’s report gives us liberal amount of information on the Nemesis Prototype sample which was sent to the Arklay laboratories in 1988.

“A parasitic living body, created by genetic modification – That was Nemesis. A living body with intelligence, which was unable to do anything on its own. However, once it parisitised the brain of another living being, it would take full control of the body and demonstrate its highly developed aptitude for combat. The project was to provide the intelligence and the biological body for combat separately and then combine them in order to create one living biological weapon.”

However, Wesker points out that the Nemisis project, like The Tyrant, had a fatal flaw.

“On the report attached to the sample, we saw nothing but a long list of deaths. The carriers lasted for only five minutes after Nemesis took control of their brains”

So judging from the report, The Nemesis seems to suffer from a similar fate as trying to create Tyrants. The success rate is extremely low, and as such, Nemesis-type creature are few and far between. By RE3 they appear to have made few successful gains with the project.

Founder: Birkin
Date of Founding: 1988.
Method of Creation: What was to become the G-virus was found inside Lisa Trevor’s body when she was infected with the Nemesis Parasite.
Known Subjects: Birkin, Sherry (embryo)

The G strain was created when the third generation Nemesis Parasite, created in the French laboratories, was tested on Lisa Trevor, a woman who had somehow survived years of experiments with dozens of viruses. When the Nemesis seemed to just disappear from her system, Birkin and Wesker investigated further into how she had survived for so long. What they found in her was to become Birkin’s pet project, the G-virus, which he worked on for ten years. It had been residing in her, taking in all the viruses she had been infected with and mutating her body to accommodate for them.

William Birkin’s research notes:
“The discovery of the G-Virus was in fact 21 years after the administration of the progenitor virus. The “Prototype Parasite” which we had delivered from a laboratory in France was administered to the sample specimen. The sample specimen took in the parasite without showing any signs of adverse reaction. The lack of any reaction was an unsolved mystery. But now everything is clear to me. The “Prototype Parasite” was incubating in the sample specimen’s body for 21 years. Then from that incubating state the prototype suddenly mutated. (“Evolved” may be a more appropriate word to describe it.) [is it just me or does that not make sense? Maybe he means the Nemesis reacted to the Progenitor virus which had been inside her for 21 years]

This observation gave me more insight in my research. Through further modification and testing, I was able to derive a method to create the “G” that surpasses the performance of the “T”.“

Subsequently, the G-virus is far more unpredictable than the T-virus because once it’s in the host, it continues to mutate until it dies. Similar to the Nemesis virus, the G-virus also has the capacity to spread through embryonic impregnation, with a higher success rate for those of similar genetic structure to those who spawned the original parasitic embryo.

“Any beings infected by the G-Virus will reproduce through impregnation of an embryo within another living being. Unless rejected by the host, the embryo will undertake a process of gradual cellular invasion,infecting the host’s cells on a molecular level as it rewrites their DNA. Once the metamorphosis is complete,the host will be capable of continuing this cycle of self-reproduction.”

Founder: William Birkin
Date of Founding: Unknown. It was made available to Wesker during the 1998 Mansion incident.
Method of Creation: Unknown. One would assume that it would have been a derivative of either the T-virus or G-virus projects, but it doesn’t seem to share many of the traits of those viruses. Another theory is that, given Wesker’s alignment with the Hunters in CV, it is somehow related to them.
Known Subjects: Albert Wesker.

Giving Wesker super-human powers might have sounded like a great idea at the time for Capcom. But the logicality of it presents one of the biggest plotholes in the story. Wesker states that it was a special project Birkin was working on for him, and that when administered it would render him in a coma-like state until he woke up. The main problem with Wesker’s Virus is that if it works so bloody well, why is everyone else stuck working with such primitive viruses?

One explanation could be the nature of the virus itself. It was developed specifically for Wesker, and not a mass-population. Most viruses suffer setbacks because they are intended for maximum affect on a large number of people. Wesker and Birkin had been working together for a while, so it is not impossible for a large amount of genetic data to have been collected on Wesker so that the virus had no chance for rejection. On the downside, it would only work on Wesker.

Also, in retrospect Wesker’s Virus is actually not that suitable as a B.O.W. The main reason being that it renders no mental side-effects on the victim. If you want a useful weapon, what you don’t want is one that’s too smart for its own good. What the Virus actually did to Wesker was basically;

-> Saved him from being turned into a corpse by the Tyrant in the first game
-> Upped his speed, agility and power
-> Endowed him with some cool eyes (Their reptilian appearance being the root of the Hunter theory)

The Virus produced no visibly physical mutations or side-effects apart from his eyes, suggesting that it wasn’t a very potent virus. Rather, his physical abilities became above-par compared to everyone else. In contrast, he pretty much gets his ass kicked by Alexia, proving that while his virus may not turn its victims into twitching zombies with very few brain cells, it has a long way to go with regards to being the ultimate B.O.W.

Founder: Unknown. Given the approximation between Spain (where the village appears to reside) and France gives rise to speculation that it could heva been researched in a Paris or European facility. Of course, we don’t even know if Umbrella is behind it, so it’s impossible to tell anything at this stage.
Date of Founding: Unknown. Presumably some time within the six years which have transpired between the Raccoon City breakout and RE4. Method of Creation: Unknown. Theories range wildly, and the only solid evidence we have on it is that it is not the T-virus. A likely suspect, especially given the old RE4 trailer, is that it’s related to the Progenitor Virus.
Known Subjects: The residents of a small European village. Some aquatic creatures.

The ‘infection’ in Resident Evil 4 is proving to be one of much debate, since it has been stated by Mikami that there will be no ‘zombies’ in the game. Of course, the definition for a zombie gives somewhat of a wide birth for theorising. If we look at all the previous games, a zombie has always been someone who has lost conscious control of their body. Their level of intelligence has declined to a point where they are no longer individual human beings. Rather they are just mobile pieces of human flesh, driven by the basest of instincts to seek out other victims. So the villagers indeed do not fit into this description; they display a marked level of intelligence, and their bodies are not mutated or decaying. But that does not mean they haven’t been infected with some kind of virus. What this virus is, we can only begin to speculate.

Right now, the only solid evidence we have is that they are not infected with the T-Virus. Looking at the picture of the ‘ogre’ creature, it would appear that there is some level of evolution to the condition of the villagers. It looks humanoid, is wearing the remnants of human clothes, and judging from the rope around its neck it had been restrained in some way. Its obvious that some sort of experimentation has been taking place, but without solid evidence we can only speculate. Whatever it is, it doesn’t seem to have the degenerative qualities of the T-virus, or the unpredictable and mutative qualities of the G-virus. If it is to be a form of a pre-existing virus, my guess is that given the effects of the Progenitor virus on its victims (more of an emphasis on mental changes, and lesser physical degeneration) that it’s a derivative form of that virus. The other, more likely theory is that it’s something new altogether.

However, without more information we can only guess at the possibilities.



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