Parvovirus XPB-19 is the supervirus that infected and created the Virals. It was created by Dr. Marcus E. Karsten, the Head Administrator of LIRI, in an attempt to find the cure for parvo, and become filthy rich by doing so. This virus is what infected The Virals, and a replica of it infected Chance Claybourne and The Trinity.
Dr. Karsten was being discreetly paid by Candela Pharmaceuticals to create the cure, but he ended up engineering a potentially lethal strain of parvo. He injected the virus into Cooper, a wolfdog hybrid puppy that lived on Loggerhead, but the results failed and the puppy was scheduled for termination.
Karsten's first strains of Parvovirus XPB-19 were all failures, and so were Chance Claybourne's replicas. The supervirus took off when Dr. Karsten ran out of clean sixty-millimeter dishes, so her substituted a hundred fifty-millimeter one instead. To compensate for the larger dish, Dr. Karsten dialed up the temperature by 30 degrees. The significantly warmer growth-culture environment caused the bacterial host-cells to hold together, and the virus was able to hijack it with ease.
Parvovirus XPB-19 was created by inserting DNA from the canine parvovirus into the genetic code for B19, a strain that only infected humans. The virus makes it's hosts extremely sick for a couple of days, with initial symptoms including blackouts, sensory overloads, diarrhea, vomiting, and uncontrollable flaring. After the symptoms begin to wear off and the supervirus leaves its hosts, victims are able to flare.
XPB-19 tricks cells into incorporating it's DNA. The supervirus later leaves its victim but leaves behind warped DNA. The alteration creates an extra pair of chromosomes that appear canine in nature, though the chromosomes don't exactly match up. Whatever these foreign DNA segments contain, they start some type of chain-reaction. After infection, usually dormant base-pair sections are left humming like cell phone towers.
Side Effects / Abilities
It is believed that flaring stems from the Limbic system. The Limbic system contains a structure called the hypothalamus, which regulated the autonomic nervous system (ANS) via horomone production and release. ANS affects heart rate, digestion, respiration, salivation, perspiration, pupil diameter, and other similar bodily functions that are not consciously directed.
Normally, when under great stress, hormonal reactions are set off within the human body, from the ANS. For individuals that have contracted Parvovirus XPB-19, these reactions are on an entirely different, much more intense level. Typically, "flares" are triggered when individuals are experiencing an extreme sensory input. Examples are stress, feeling threatened, aggravation, or fright. After some practice, flaring is able to be called upon at any given moment, but some individuals find it more difficult than others. When flaring, individuals experience sensory and physical capabilities that are consistent with the natural abilities of wolves.
Effects of this phenomenon include:
- Enhanced Sight - Sight becomes incredibly detailed and is described as eagle-like, making it extremely easy to see in the dark.
- Enhanced Hearing - Hearing becomes much more sensitive than the average humans.
- Enhanced Sense of smell - The sense of smell becomes incredibly strong, with some victims being able to smell emotions.
- Telepathic Communication - If in a pack, it becomes possible for victims to speak via telepathy, but this only works if a pack member is within a certain range. Packs can also shut out a certain member, and not allow for them to hear a conversation.
- Telepathic Vision - Like telepathic communication, victims must be within a pack to look through the eyes of another packmate. The Virals are able to do this but it is unclear if The Trinity are able to as well
Cures for XPB-19
During the events of Terminal, Chance Claybourne created a cure that would scrub the infiltrating DNA from the original, and cure himself, The Virals, and The Trinity of the virus. The Trinity and Chance completely lost their powers, but at the end of Terminal, in the epilogue, Tory Brennan refuses the change and opens her eyes to reveal a pale blue flame. It is unknown if the cure only worked for the replica of XPB-19 or if the Virals had been permanently altered, as they had been carrying it for much longer than the others.
After Chance's attempt to cure The Virals of XPB-19, the Virals' flares come to a halt. A day after they are "cured" Tory finds that her eyes have become pale blue in color. In Trace Evidence: Spike it is revealed that the blue never really leaves. Flares and golden eyes do not return, but the Virals now have heightened senses and abilities (though not as strong as they originally once were), and are able to communicate via telepathy whenever they are close enough. They are able to close off this connection if needed. When communicating telepathically and looking directly at each other, their eyes turn a pale blue. Tory has the most trouble hiding the color because her eyes are lighter and are able to show the color much more easily. The others' eyes simply become a bit darker.