The Captain Trips Virus

The Captain Trips virus.

Captain Trips is a nickname for the constantly shifting antigen virus that exterminates 99.4% of the human population in The Stand.

Developed under the code name Project Blue by a biological weapon's laboratory located beneath California's Mojave Desert, it is also known as Blue virus (Blue Virus), A-prime, A6, the rales, superflu, choking sickness, and tube neck.

The virus is set loose on the population when Charlie Campion, who was working in the base that developed it, noticed that the virus had been released in the base and managed to escape with his wife and daughter, but not before being infected with it himself. He carried the virus all the way to Arnette, Texas, before dying, thus setting in motion the events of the novel.

Description & Symptoms

Captain Trips is an extremely deadly virus, able to be transmitted as easily as the common flu it is based on, with far more lethal results. It has a communicability rate of over 99%, meaning that all but a tiny few of humans can catch it. The virus starts out like a common cold, causing weariness, nasal congestion and sneezing, and most people who catch it think that a common cold is all they have.

The superflu virus is highly adaptable, shifting and changing constantly, making medicines useless against it. At best, medicine only briefly holds off the inevitable. No vaccine was ever developed for it, before or after its escape from the lab where it was created, as its constantly-changing nature made a vaccine impossible to create.

As it progresses, Captain Trips causes increasingly-worse fever, headaches, crippling physical pain, swelling, and delirium. Victims slip in and out of consciousness, and begin thinking they are in other places, other times in their lives. Sometimes, when nearing death, victims will actually calm down and return to clear, level-headed thinking for a short time. In all cases, however, once someone has caught Captain Trips, they are dead- it's just a question of how long it will take for them to die.


  • Humans
  • Dogs
  • Guinea pigs
  • Horses
  • Monkeys


It is unknown how a given human or animal can be immune to the superflu, but based on the United States Military's own knowledge of the virus (from data on it in the files of Project Blue), 0.6% of the human race was immune to it. Most likely, immunity is genetic, and would be that way for the animals capable of catching the virus as well.

Colonel Richard Deitz, operating in Atlanta, then in Vermont after the Plague Center in Atlanta was compromised, led the effort to find a cure for the virus. Due to the fact that "Captain Trips" shifts and changes at an extremely rapid pace, not one attempted vaccine worked. Men and women with a lifetime of experience in medicine were mystified at Stuart Redman's survival, even after they injected him with the superflu under the guise of administering a sedative.


Captain Trips, a man-made virus created by the United States Military on taxpayer dollars, killed all but a handful of the humans, dogs, guinea pigs, horses, and monkeys on earth. Riots, suicides, accidents and injuries made fatal by a total absence of medical personnel, and murders cut the number of survivors even further. The animal species able to catch Captain Trips are implied to be doomed, left without a sustainable population. It is unknown whether the surviving immune humans would be able to keep their species alive. While Frannie Goldsmith's baby lived after immediately catching the virus, the twins another woman in Boulder, Colorado gave birth to previously had died.