What is the fungus in 'The Last of Us'? Cordyceps virus explained

What is the fungus in ‘The Last of Us’? Cordyceps virus explained

Source: HBO

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author

With the entire world embracing quarantine culture and pandemic lifestyles in their daily lives, a show about a highly contagious disease like zombies would probably make most of us nervous. Us works to relieve the lingering virus-related anxiety that most of us have developed.

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Based on the critically acclaimed video game, this series focuses on Joel Miller (Pedro Pascal) and teenage Ellie (Bella Ramsey) as they try to survive in a post-apocalyptic America where an infectious virus has devastated the people. . mindless monster.

The virus in question behaves like a fungus in that mold and mushroom-like growths develop throughout the infected individual. What exactly is this fungus in The Last of Us? Let’s break down what we know.

Joel and Tess encounter an Infected who has reached the end of his life

Source: HBO

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What are the fungi in ‘The Last of Us’?

The Last of Us games only touch briefly on the nature and origin of fungal viruses, but the show goes into more clarity and detail.

Season 1, Episode 2 — aptly titled “Infection” — begins in 2003, just before the virus first broke out in the United States. In Jakarta, Indonesia, mycology professor Eve Ratna (Kristin Hakim) is contacted by local authorities to examine the corpse of a mill worker who was killed after attacking his colleague.

She found human bite marks on the victim’s leg and fungal growths visible from its mouth. It is a parasitic fungus that usually hosts insects. She is also informed that a colleague who was attacked went missing in the city. , to destroy everyone there to stop the virus.

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Twenty years later, an epidemic of Cordyceps has devastated the United States, and society has plunged into chaos in the wake of the disease.

In the show, Cordyceps acts like a zombie virus. Infected individuals lose higher brain functions, become hyper-aggressive, and bite humans become infected. Over time, cordyceps infections spread throughout the body, manifesting as fungal growths.

Edible cordyceps found in Linzhi, China

Source: Getty Images

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As scary as it may be to think, Cordyceps is actually real and behaves just like it does on the show. According to real-life mycology professor Mark Ramsdale, via Sky News, there are more than 600 species of cordyceps, some of which use insects as hosts, hijacking the brain and controlling motor functions to some extent. can.

At the time of this writing, there are no known records of Cordyceps infecting humans in this manner. In fact, people have even used Cordyceps in cooking.

This game (and subsequent series) deals with a species of Cordyceps that has undergone aggressive mutations so that it can spread among humans. Still, the fact that this disease is so heavily influenced by nature is enough to make us crawl.

New episodes of The Last of Us premiere every Sunday at 9 PM ET on HBO.


Bakhtawar S Usmani

I am an all-rounder in a world full of barbies! Keeper of multiple birds and cats. I may make punctuation mistakes, but they come up for turning into a crore or two extra. Thus, a well-placed crore seems a better choice for me.

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