The Blacklight virus, also known as the Mercer Virus to the general public, is an evolutionary chimeric mutation-causing infectious agent that can reproduce only inside the living cells of other biological organisms. It was extracted and synthesized by Gentek, using a sample of Elizabeth Greene's blood, which had been infected with the Redlight virus.
After infection, the virus "plugs in" and activates junk DNA in it's victim, resulting in biological changes that create (and recreate) sentience within the infected creature's cellular makeup. It acts by affecting the protein encoding regions of the promoter introns in each cell. As a retrovirus, it contains both RNA and the reverse transcriptase enzyme, allowing it to insert its own genetic codes into living cells. It enters, re-purposes and changes the cell, replicating previously dormant non-coding segments of DNA.
More often than not, these changes are too drastic and 99.99% of subjects die from massive organ failure and cell saturation. However, some variants have yielded other beneficial results; endowing the infected organisms with incredible superhuman genetic prowess, that greatly increase their natural abilities to levels far exceeding human capability, these variants include DX-1120 and DX-1118 C.
The virus is highly contagious and can infect organisms through a multitude of means:
- Physical Contact: If a non-infected person is bitten or scratched by an Infected person, or Hunter, the virus can spread directly to the victim resulting in their infection.
- Exposure: Coming into contact with an Infected Water Tower, or a Hive can result in the infectious agents spreading to nearby humans.
- Bodily Fluid Contact: Infectious bodily fluids and materials are capable of infecting through open wounds.
- Injection: As demonstrated by the Project D-Code soldiers, the Virus can be spread through direct application via injection.
Blacklight (DX-1118 C)
A group of scientists led by Dr. Alex Mercer managed to synthesize a new virus strain which they named Blacklight. They were trying to use it to cure diseases such as cancer (unknowing of the real goal, to engineer a new version of the Redlight virus that could copy and combine genetic traits to re-write living creatures). The scientists soon became suspicious, noting that a large portion of virus variants had deadly effects on test animals.
The Blacklight virus' effects are variable and far more infectious than the Idaho strain. The Blacklight virus outbreak does not follow the pattern of the Hope outbreak: it causes too many infections, spreads over too wide an area, and leaves too many surviving entities. The Blacklight virus mortality rate is lower than that of the Redlight virus, and the incubation period is much longer. The full capabilities of the Blacklight virus were unknown, even to the scientists who synthesized it.
Thankfully, the Blacklight virus is incapable of crossing large water bodies, leaving it stranded on Manhattan Island. The Blacklight virus can make Walkers but it's unknown if Alex can control these Walkers, and it should be noted that Greene couldn't control individuals infected with this strain of Blacklight virus.
161 soldiers were injected with this variant in Project D-Code. This variant caused no deaths or resulted in any side effects. The virus' replication and re-growth within the organism was completed in less than two days. The subjects showed dramatic increases in metabolic rate, strength, and reaction times. This variant was only 3 weeks old and was responsible for creating the Super Soldiers; agile, strong, and formidable foes to the Blacklight beings.