Shanti virus

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Shanti virus
Shanti virus samples.jpg
The Company mass produces the virus for experimentation purposes.

First mentioned: Six Months Ago
Current status: Strain 138 destroyed; various other strains in the Company's possession

The "Shanti virus" is a life-threatening disease that attacks the nervous system. One of its side effects is that it prevents evolved humans who have the disease from using their abilities. Shanti Suresh is the first known victim.

Afflicted Characters


Many strains of the virus exist, though only three have been mentioned. Mohinder Suresh seems to have antibodies in his blood that are capable of destroying the original strain of the virus, though by mixing it with Claire's regenerative blood, the antibodies "become stronger", apparently affecting other mutated strains in blood recipients.

Original Strain

According to Victoria Pratt, the first and original strain of the virus was discovered in Shanti Suresh on February 14, 1977. The effects of this disease are harmful if not treated and can block evolved human abilities. The only known cure is Mohinder's blood, which contains antibodies capable of destroying the virus. Because of the lack of specific equipment against contamination when treating patients, this strain of the virus appears not to be contagious through inhalation. According to Mohinder, only evolved humans are vulnerable to this strain of the virus.

The known victims of this original strain are Shanti Suresh, who died from the disease (Homecoming); Molly Walker, who was cured by Mohinder's blood (The Hard Part); and the Haitian, who was cured by Mohinder's blood. With the Haitian, Mohinder commented that the virus was starting to get more virulent and would have killed the man by the next morning with its reproduction rate inside of him (Lizards).

Unnamed Strain

A mutated version of the original strain of the Shanti virus, this strain is used by the Company to block abilities without any apparent harm to the subject (similar to the ability negation pills). Besides this effect, this strain appears to be asymptomatic; infected characters don't show any visible sign of health damage. This strain cannot be cured by the the antibodies in Mohinder's blood, but by mixing it with Claire's (or, presumably, with any blood with regenerative properties), the antibodies change and can destroy the virus.

The known victims of this strain are Niki Sanders (Out of Time) and Sylar, who was cured by a mixture of Mohinder's blood and Claire's regenerative blood (Powerless). However, it seems that not even this mixture was capable of fully restoring Sylar's stolen abilities: aside from telekinesis, this strain removed all his acquired powers (The Second Coming). While in an alternate future, a few of Sylar's abilities were restored (I Am Become Death), but he may have simply stolen them again from other people possessing those powers.

Strain 138

A strain created through biological engineering, Strain 138 is the first strain known to infect normal humans. Its symptoms are deadly, and due to its high contamination rate, it was responsible for killing 93% of the world's population in an alternate future. That future's version of Angela Petrelli stated that the virus would eventually kill everyone in the world. Victoria Pratt also stated that if this strain of the virus ever got out, it would wipe out all of humanity. It also has the property of remaining dormant and undetectable once it has infected a victim, capable of suddenly becoming active (Quarantine). No cure is known. Since Peter destroyed the only known vial of the virus (Powerless), this strain is believed to be extinct.

Billions of victims were affected by Strain 138 in an alternate future, including Nathan Petrelli, who died in the first outbreak of the virus (Out of Time). There are no known victims of Strain 138 in the actual timeline.


Seven Minutes to Midnight

After Chandra's funeral, Mohinder first learns from his mother about his sister Shanti, who died from the virus two years after he was born.


During a dream, Mohinder witnesses a conversation Nirand and Chandra have about Shanti and her death--Nirand tells him to let go.

Six Months Ago

Chandra tells Mr. Bennet about a genetic defect in his daughter, Shanti, which resulted in her untimely death. Chandra calls the mutation a "genetic anomaly".

The Hard Part

Thompson tells Mohinder about Molly and her virus, which Shanti also had. Thompson explains that the virus destroys the nervous system. Mohinder is unable to find a cure, until he realizes that he is the cure. He gives Molly a sample of his blood.


Healed, Molly's ability is unlocked, and she proves it by locating Matt Parkman.

How to Stop an Exploding Man

Mohinder tells Mr. Bennet that the antibodies in his blood are what cured Molly.

Molly relapses and Mohinder gives her another transfusion. Though Mohinder says it will take some time to work, Molly is able to access her power.

Graphic Novel:Blackout, Part 1

Mohinder, inside a New York City hospital, finds a teenage patient who is an evolved human. Believing that he has the same illness as Molly and his sister, Mohinder gives his own blood to the patient. The blood appears to cure the patient and release his ability.

Graphic Novel:Blackout, Part 2

Mohinder realizes that the teenage patient never had the virus, and the reason for the patient's problems is that he has not learned to control his ability.

Four Months Later...

Mohinder gives a presentation in a Cairo lecture hall. He urges the visitors to fight to secure human evolution. Later, Bob convinces Mohinder to work for the Company on a cure for the virus. He also hints that Mohinder would be a hero if the virus spread to the unevolved population and he had a cure.


Mohinder is sent by Bob to Haiti to treat a man who is exhibiting the exact same symptoms that victims of the virus exhibit. This man turns out to be the Haitian. At first, the Haitian refuses to be treated by Mohinder, saying that because he abused his powers, they are now taken away by God and he is suffering for his past actions. Mohinder finally persuades the Haitian to take a transfusion of his own blood. Later, the antidote works and the Haitian's life is saved and ability reactivated. During this time, Mohinder's fears of the virus spreading are realized as if an evolved human could be affected so far away and the virus itself is more virulent, and would have killed the Haitian by the next morning without the antidote.

Graphic Novel:The Crossroads

Mohinder is in Port-au-Prince giving the Haitian instructions after curing him of the virus.

The Line

Mohinder is forced to decide whether or not to use a mutation of the Shanti virus on Monica in order to try and come up with a way of neutralizing abilities without killing the individual. Mohinder is pressed by both Noah and Bob to use the sample on her. At the last second, he decides to not use the virus on Monica.

Out of Time

After teleporting to 2008, Peter learns that the Shanti virus has caused the deaths of 93% of the world's population. Peter is told that the outbreak started on March 20, 2007, and that according to their records, Peter died already. While meeting with his mother, Peter learns that Nathan died in the first outbreak of the virus. Angela tells Peter that if he doesn't remember and go back in time and change history, the virus will kill all of humanity.

In the present, Bob suggests that the virus be used on Maury, who has come to kill Bob. However, Maury uses his ability to put Niki in a dream. In order to stop herself, she injects the virus in herself. Later, Mohinder tries to treat her with his antibodies, but finds that the virus has mutated and cannot be stopped by his blood. When he tells this to Bob, Bob decides to destroy all the vials of the virus they have, and that they must find Claire. Bob explains that her ability may help save Niki.

Graphic Novel:Quarantine

In the future, Howard Lemay and his family head for Detroit to escape the ravages of the Shanti virus. They meet Dylan and find shelter in a Youngstown quarantine. Unfortunately, Dylan's delayed virus symptoms begin showing up after he is already admitted to the shelter, and he infects those locked into the quarantine with him.

Truth & Consequences

In a Montreal warehouse, Peter tells Adam that Howard Lemay called the virus the Shanti virus. Adam tells Peter of a woman named Victoria Pratt who recovered the virus from a young girl thirty years ago and attempted to make it a weapon. Peter suggests that they need to find her.

In a room, Mohinder tells Noah that Claire's blood has the properties of regeneration, and will help him save a woman from the virus. Noah tells him that it's all a lie, that the Company made the virus and has been experimenting with it for thirty years.

Niki and Micah talk, and she explains the she went to a place that helps people who are sick. She tells Micah she has a virus, and that she can't spread it, but Dr. Suresh is looking for a cure that will make her better. Micah asks what would happen if Dr. Suresh can't find a cure, but Niki insists that he will.

At Victoria Pratt's home, Peter finds a woman in her garden, who tells him she has never heard of Victoria Pratt. Peter tells her that he knows she worked for the Company, prompting her to pull out a shotgun and point it at him. He tells her in twenty-four hours the Shanti virus will be released, and that 93% of the world's population will be dead in a year. Curious to how someone could see the future, he tells her that he's been there. He asks for help, and she tells him to go inside her house.

At Primatech Research, in 1977, Hiro watches as Adam, restrained by guards, is told by Kaito that he is a traitor. Adam tells Kaito that he tried to save the world; that to release the virus would be good for a world of famine and constant war that disregards the environment. Kaito tells the guards to lock him up and throw away the key. Kaito turns off the alarm and enters a room Victoria is in. She tells Kaito that Adam was looking for Strain 138, a strain powerful enough to start a global pandemic. Kaito thanks her, but she tells him he that he needs to shut down the program. He asks for the strain and tells her he will lock it away at the Odessa, TX facility where it will be safe. She tells him that as long as it exists, they will not be safe. Kaito tells her the other founders would not allow that, and a concerned Victoria tells Kaito that Adam had help. Victoria tells him that she will no longer be a part of the work.

In present-day Searsmont, Peter is lead inside at gunpoint by Victoria. She tells him she has been expecting someone to come after her. Peter tells her about Caitlin, and how knowing where the virus is will save her. She tells him of the mutated strain that would kill everyone. Peter returns to Adam, and tells him that the virus is in a company storage facility in New Mexico. Adam tells Peter there was never a facility in New Mexico when he is shot by Victoria and thrown back into the windshield of the car. She shoots Peter, who falls back, telling him that if he's working with Adam, she doesn't need to know anything more. About to shoot Adam's head off, Victoria is knocked out by Peter. Adam tells him to bring her up to the house. Adam ties up Victoria. She tells Peter that he's helping Adam release the virus. Peter tells her he wants to destroy it. She says that thirty years ago, Adam broke into her lab to release the virus, but she stopped him. Now, he's trying to do it again. Adam responds by telling them that he broke into the facility to stop the Company from putting the world in danger. She asks if he killed Kaito, and that if it's now her turn. He tells her he's trying to save lives. Victoria calls Adam a killer, along with Peter since he's helping him, just like his parents. But he responds that what she was a part of is what will kill people. He asks where the strain is, and is able to telepathically find its location: Odessa, Texas.

Suresh makes a cure for the mutated version of the Shanti virus by combining Claire's blood with his blood. Bob congratulates him. Suresh is very upset that Bob still doesn't want to end research on the virus. When Bob asks him what they can do for him, he tells Bob to help him destroy all the versions of the virus the Company ever created. He then calls Niki to tell her that he found a cure.

Adam and Peter arrive at Primatech to destroy the virus.


In his lab, Mohinder discovers that the Company injected Sylar with the same strain of the virus that Niki has.

Adam and Peter reach the vault in the basement of Primatech that contains the deadly Strain 138 of the virus. While Peter is outside the vault, being confronted by Hiro, Matt, and Nathan, Adam retrieves the vial containing the virus. Hiro teleports inside and teleports Adam away, but not before he drops the virus. Just in time, Peter catches the falling vial, stopping it from breaking on the ground. He cups his hands around the vial and destroys it.

Sylar injects himself with the cure to a strain which heals his wounds and cures him of the virus, restoring his original ability and one of his acquired abilities.

Webisode:Dark Matters, Part 5

One of the Primatech files that Quentin Frady sees on the Renautas root directory is titled "Shanti Virus".

Heroes Evolutions

On his website, Dr. Suresh posts several videos about advancements in his studies on the Shanti virus.


  • NBC called the illness the "Shanti virus" in a promotional video, and this was confirmed in Out of Time.
  • Mohinder initially thought a teenage patient might also have the virus, but determined he was wrong after trying to cure him with his blood did not have the desired effect. The strain of the virus Niki contracted is not affected by the antibodies in Mohinder's blood.
  • In his lecture in Cairo, Mohinder implies that this illness only affects evolved humans. (Four Months Later...)
  • In a possible future, it is noted that Peter does not have any signs of infection after coming from the present. (Out of Time)
  • In a possible future, Nathan dies from the Shanti virus in the first outbreak on March 20, 2007. (Out of Time)
  • In The Hard Part, Thompson explains to Mohinder that the virus affects the nervous system. Since the brain is part of the nervous system and the brain seems to be the root of the abilities of evolved humans, this may be why the virus affects these abilities.
  • In Powerless, when Peter reduces Strain 138 to carbonized dust, a faint imprint of the helix symbol appears in his hand before he pours the inert dust to the floor.
  • In most cases, the virus seems to only suppress abilities, without taking them away entirely, as curing the virus restores affected abilities.
  • It is possible this virus is now extinct: Mohinder destroyed all the vials he could find of it and planned to destroy whatever other strains existed and Peter destroyed Strain 138. Since these events, the Shanti virus hasn't reemerged, indicating it may in fact be totally destroyed.


See Also

Fan Theories

Please refer to Theory:Shanti virus for fan-created theories and other speculation.

Medical Conditions edit

AneurysmCancerComaDepressionDyslexiaShanti virusSplit personality

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