The Covax Virus refers to a mutationally-engineered virus which causes extreme aggression in humans. It also impairs their reasoning capability and creates an intense hunger which often leads to cannibalism. It was encountered in Boston during Darkwatch and nearly destroyed the city.
Because of the nature of the disease, its victims were colloquially known as "zombies" to many. The description is not accurate, however: victims of the Covax virus are still living and can in fact be cured.
The virus was developed by a mutant named Roger Covax. At age sixteen a government agency caught wind of Covax’s ability. They tracked, captured, and brought Covax to a secret holding facility for experimentation. During the capture Covax managed to infect one of his kidnappers, Trey Mason. Mason, in turn, infected two of his teammates before being brought down. Scientists extracted specimens from all three men and dubbed the virus “The Covax Virus,” a mutant virus with a level of sophistication rarely seen in nature.
The agency was shut down in the late 1980s. The Covax Virus was put into a storage facility and never studied again. At one time it had been considered as a biological weapon, but research was never completed on the project.
The terrorist Jack acquired a sample of the virus in the fall of 2009 and infected Victor Creed with the sample before setting him on Roxbury, Maine. Creed spread the infection from Roxbury to Boston, where it and its effects were responsible for the deaths of over 20,000 people. Early in the infection, X-Factor was called in under the codename Darkwatch and was given control of the efforts to contain the virus. They tracked the virus to Roger Covax, who created a cure which was then dispensed to Boston via aerosol bombs.
The virus has since been eradicated from Boston. It is unknown whether any samples still exist.
Symptoms & Progression
Early symptoms of the disease include increased heart rate, high blood pressure, fever, growing hunger, and increased aggression. Within four hours, full infection is complete.
A fully-infected individual has lost most of their higher reasoning capabilities. Most are unable to communicate beyond grunts and have only basic problem-solving skills. They are likely to bite themselves, scratch at walls, and yell a lot. They barely sleep, and they are always consumed by a raging hunger which leads them to eat almost anything, constantly.
Infection also causes extreme rage and increased aggression, making it unsafe to be in the vicinity of an unrestrained infected individual without protection.
Infected individuals are not super strong, but they do have an increased adrenaline level, which can often create the illusion of strength and speed. For the course of the infection, they are performing at "peak" and will often ignore pain.
Infected persons can be given an antidote either intravenously or via inhalant. The treatment begins to work within the hour with a noticeable decrease in fever. Aggressive tendencies and other symptoms typically fade within two to three hours, although patients are kept under observation for 24 hours.