Created By: ChunkyDaddy on October 25, 2011 Last Edited By: ChunkyDaddy on November 1, 2011
Troped

Beneficial Disease

Disease provides you with abilities/protection

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Rolling Updates

This trope has appeared many times on House. One of the characters has a disease that protects him/her from another more deadly disease. In some cases, the disease might be fatal but give the person extraordinary powers

This trope is related to diseases that can either be cured by a medical treatment, or the body's self defense mechanism can cure the disease. The characters may elect to not cure or prolong the infection to gain the maximum benefit from the disease. For immunity/superpowers arising from disabilities of a more permanent nature, (disabilities cause by genetic mutations, accidents, or general in-born traits) see Disability Immunity. For example sickle-cell anemia that arises because of a genetic mutation resulting in lowered life expectancy, but also provides a degree of immunity against malaria is Not an Example of this trope. It is an example of Disability Immunity, since sickle cell anemia is permenant. OTH, Cowpox which is a disease that provides immunity to a much more deadlier disease called smallpox is a good example of this trope

Also related to One Curse Limit

Advertising:
  • Bart Simpson is diagnosed with Butterfingeritis. Homer grumbles, "Why does Bart always get the good diseases?"

Fiction:
  • The science fiction novel The Skinner by Neal Asher is set on a Death World that has this gigantic leech whose bite carries a virus with interesting properties, rendering "victims" super strong and nearly immortal and indestructible. Almost all animals on-planet are infected by it, as are most humans who live there. The real downside is that the evolutionary "purpose" is so predators can have permanent prey, and even if you can't die, it doesn't mean you can't feel pain/suffer a Fate Worse Than Death.

Fanfic:
  • There's the Harry Potter fanfic Recnac Transfaerso where having cancer causes Harry to develop on-off superpowered magic.

Film:
  • The John Travolta film Phenomenon, wherein the main character develops hyperintelligence and even psychokinesis because of what is eventually discovered to be a fatal brain tumor.
  • Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Alice gains superhuman strength, speed and agility because the T-virus that infected her has bonded with her on a cellular level.

Live-Action TV:
  • As mentioned above, this trope has been used multiple times on House
  • In Terra Nova, a flu infection provides the main character immunity from another infection that wipes the person's memory
  • In an episode of Stargate SG1, the characters receive a number of armbands that bestow superpowers on the wearers. They work by infecting the wearer with a virus that causes the changes. Unfortunately this means that the armbands only work for as long as it takes the body to develop an immunity to the virus.
  • Look Around You has a disease called "Cobbles," which causes the skin to take on the appearance of stone until the victim looks like a pile of rocks, but also grants the ability to fly. The scientist who discovered a cure for the disease, a sufferer himself, opted not to use it because he liked being able to fly so much.

Tabletop Games:
  • Several "evil" diseases in D&D provide growing bonuses at the cost of penalties in other areas, in effect becoming a Deadly Upgrade. The fans were quick to notice that the prestige class cancer mage can adapt to diseases, hoarding bonuses while ignoring the penalties...
  • In Warhammer, this is Nurgle's hat. Since he is a Plague Master god, his servants become ravaged with all sorts of plagues but the effects don't kill them. They look utterly disgusting but not a bit weaker for it; they are actually harder to kill because they don't need to worry about things like infected wounds. Also they Feel No Pain, and the diseases they spread can still be lethal to non-believers.

Video Games:
  • From Generation 3 onward, the main Pokémon video games have had the Pokerus virus. If you're very, very lucky a wild Pokemon you fight might just spread Pokerus to one of your Pokemon. With this condition, that Pokemon will gain twice as many effort points (effort values are a complex hidden stat-growth mechanic, look it up) when an enemy mon is defeated. Basically, it will save you time when trying to fine-tune your Pokemon's stats. It can be spread from inside the mon's PC storage box. Pokerus does however "cure" after so many hours of play, so exploit it while it lasts. It isn't even clear if Pokerus causes any suffering. So never mind the Video Game Cruelty Potential of mass temporary infection, trainer
    • "Pokerus" (the poke-virus) has actually existed since Generation II. The chances of encountering it in the wild are about 1 in 23,000 (three times as rare as a Shiny encounter), but since there's no visible indication that the wild Mon has it, most players don't actually know about it.
  • The Elder Scrolls has vampirism, in which the longer it goes untreated, the victim gains more vampiric characteristics.
  • In Dawn Of War 2 Retribution the healing of chaos units is done through the powers of Nurgle, by the means of supernatural disease - Nurgle's Rot. The infected units get back to the fight as their senses get numbed to the pain and their wounds get sealed by cancerous growths.
  • in The Elder Scrolls, particularly Morrowind, the Corpus disease grants the infected immunity to all other diseases and even prevents them from aging. Too bad it also comes with a big serving of Body Horror and a bad case of crazy, and is completely incurable unless you are the Nerevarine.

Western Animation:
  • Futurama, "Parasites Lost": Eating a bad sandwich gives Fry worms that rebuild his body, making him stronger and smarter.

Real Life:
  • Cowpox, a relatively harmless disease in humans, conveys immunity to the much more serious smallpox. This fact led to the discovery of the science of vaccination.

Community Feedback Replies: 49
  • October 25, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Real Life:
    • Cowpox, a relatively harmless disease in humans, conveys immunity to the much more serious smallpox. This fact led to the discovery of the science of vaccination.
  • October 25, 2011
    isk2837
    In an episode of Stargate SG1, the characters receive a number of armbands that bestow superpowers on the wearers. They work by infecting the wearer with a virus that causes the changes. Unfortunately this means that the armbands only work for as long as it takes the body to develop an immunity to the virus.

    Also there's the Harry Potter fanfic Recnac Transfaerso where having cancer causes Harry to develop on-off superpowered magic.
  • October 25, 2011
    Bisected8
    If the protecting illness proves harmful it's a type of Disability Immunity or Disability Superpower.
  • October 25, 2011
    ChunkyDaddy
    Hmm. Disability Immunity comes close, although from reading that trope, it sounds like it applies to something that is a permanent disability, no? I was thinking about including diseases that someone might be cured from.
  • October 25, 2011
    ChunkyDaddy
    Should this be called Acquired Immunity?
  • October 25, 2011
    Bisected8
    @Chunky Daddy: There's quite a few examples of temporary "disabilities", plus it also refers to stuff like lacking skills and personality flaws that change with time (I should know, I launched it ¬_¬).

    I just realised that this is also probably related to One Curse Limit.
  • October 25, 2011
    Generality
    The John Travolta film Phenomenon, wherein the main character develops hyperintelligence and even psychokinesis because of what is eventually discovered to be a fatal brain tumour.
  • October 25, 2011
    TonyG
    Futurama, "Parasites Lost": Eating a bad sandwich gives Fry worms that rebuild his body, making him stronger and smarter.
  • October 25, 2011
    SavvyAngel
  • October 25, 2011
    Tiiba
    Wouldn't you call this symbiosis, rather than disease? Especially if it's literally benevolent.
  • October 25, 2011
    Bisected8
    Symbiosis is when two organisms support one another. A disease can be caused by many things and might still be harmful.
  • October 25, 2011
    TrustBen
    The sons asthma in Signs protects him from being poisoned by the aliens.
  • October 25, 2011
    Bisected8
    @isk2837: You're not really supposed to edit OPs unless you're the sponser or you really need to fix an error that's breaking the YKTTW.
  • October 25, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In one episode of The Simpsons Mr. Burns is diagnosed as having every disease known to man, plus a few new ones. They're all in perfect balance though, rendering him...something, depending on your point of view.
    Doctor: All of your diseases are in perfect balance...[the Doctor puts a tiny model house door on his desk] Here's the door to your body, see? [bring up some small fuzz balls with goofy faces and limbs from under the desk] And these are oversized novelty germs...Here's what happens when they all try to get through the door at once. [tries to cram a bunch through the model door. The "germs" get stuck] "Woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo! Move it, chowderhead!" We call it, "Three Stooges Syndrome."
    Burns: So what you're saying is, I'm indestructible!
    Doctor: Oh, no, no, in fact, even slight breeze could --
    Burns: Indestructible.
  • October 25, 2011
    Jordan
    The science fiction novel The Skinner by Neal Asher is set on a Death World that has this gigantic leech whose bite carries a virus with interesting properties, rendering "victims" super strong and nearly immortal and indestructible. Almost all animals on-planet are infected by it, as are most humans who live there. The real downside is that the evolutionary "purpose" is so predators can have permanent prey, and even if you can't die, it doesn't mean you can't feel pain/suffer a Fate Worse Than Death.

  • October 26, 2011
    isk2837
    @Bisected8: I know not to make major changes, but fixing a minor grammatical error you notice is OK, right?
  • October 26, 2011
    Arivne
    Add to Thalassemia example under Real Life:

    This is also true of another genetic disorder, sickle-cell disease (AKA sickle-cell anemia).
  • October 26, 2011
    Bisected8
    @isk2837: From YKTTW Guidelines ;

    Like everything else on the wiki, you can edit anything you see, including the YKTTW and the comments on it. However, the name next to the text displayed will be that of the last person to edit it - your name if you're Known, or Unknown Troper and an IP if you're not. It's bad form to edit over someone else's comments, so don't do it unless you feel you absolutely have to (like to fix a markup that is breaking the discussion).

    In other words, no. Minor grammatical errors are not acceptable reasons to edit it. Either let the person who made the error know (so they can fix it) or wait until the article's launched (if it hasn't been fixed then anyway). You shouls avoid editing the OP unless you plan to take over it.
  • October 26, 2011
    ChunkyDaddy
    So, considering that there are many examples of this trope, should this be considered a Sister Trope of Disability Immunity? or as Bisected8 suggested, should these examples go there?
  • October 26, 2011
    isk2837
    @Bisected8: Ok, I'll remember that next time.
  • October 26, 2011
    KTera
    Red Dwarf had a few benevolent viruses, but the only one I remember offhand was the Luck Virus. It makes you lucky.
  • October 26, 2011
    ChunkyDaddy
    @K Tera: W Ould you consider person infected by the Luck Virus as diseased? After all, all of us have beneficial bacteria in our gut that helps digestion. We don't consider infection with those bacteria as a disease!

    I was thinking more on the lines of a disease that does have harmful effects but has a side effect of either providing you with immunity from a deadlier disease, or giving you super human powers.
  • October 26, 2011
    TBTabby
    Look Around You has a disease called "Cobbles," which causes the skin to take on the appearance of stone until the victim looks like a pile of rocks, but also grants the ability to fly. The scientist who discovered a cure for the disease, a sufferer himself, opted not to use it because he liked being able to fly so much.
  • October 26, 2011
    Bisected8
    @Chunky Daddy: I wasn't suggesting it be merged. I was suggesting it was a sister trope of Disability Immunity and Disability Superpower.
  • October 26, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    • Several "evil" diseases in D&D provide growing bonuses at the cost of penalties in other areas, in effect becoming a Deadly Upgrade. The fans were quick to notice that the prestige class cancer mage can adapt to diseases, hoarding bonuses while ignoring the penalties...
  • October 26, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    • In Warhammer, this is Nurgle's hat. Since he is a Plague Master god, his servants become ravaged with all sorts of plagues but the effects don't kill them. They look utterly disgusting but not a bit weaker for it; they are actually harder to kill because they don't need to worry about things like infected wounds. Also they Feel No Pain, and the diseases they spread can still be lethal to non-believers.
  • October 26, 2011
    TonyG
    Futurama should be under Western Animation, and the Signs example is repeated on Live-action Televison for some reason.
  • October 26, 2011
    hevendor717
    From Generation 3 onward, the main Pokemon video games have had the Pokerus virus. If you're very, very lucky a wild Pokemon you fight might just spread Pokerus to one of your Pokemon. With this condition, that Pokemon will gain twice as many effort points (effort values are a complex hidden stat-growth mechanic, look it up) when an enemy mon is defeated. Basically, it will save you time when trying to fine-tune your Pokemon's stats. It can be spread from inside the mon's PC storage box. Pokerus does however "cure" after so many hours of play, so exploit it while it lasts. It isn't even clear if Pokerus causes any suffering. So never mind the Video Game Cruelty Potential of mass temporary infection, trainer.
  • October 26, 2011
    ZombieAladdin
    Advertising: Bart Simpson is diagnosed with Butterfingeritis. Homer grumbles, "Why does Bart always get the good diseases?"
  • October 27, 2011
    ChunkyDaddy
    @Tony G: Thanks for finding the mistakes @Bisected8: Fair enough :) I'll move the examples related to genetic mutations to Disability Immunity.
  • October 27, 2011
    ChunkyDaddy
    Yay! One hat! My first hat! Thank you! I'm new here, and this is the first trope that got a hat.
  • October 27, 2011
    Chabal2
    You should move the Warhammer example to Tabletop Games.

    The Elder Scrolls has vampirism, in which the longer it goes untreated, the victim gains more vampiric characteristics.

  • October 27, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    The Warhammer example should go to tabletop games, not video games. If you want a video games equivalent...
    • In Dawn Of War 2 Retribution the healing of chaos units is done through the powers of Nurgle, by the means of supernatural disease - Nurgle's Rot. The infected units get back to the fight as their senses get numbed to the pain and their wounds get sealed by cancerous growths.
  • October 27, 2011
    TechUnadept
    change the title to Beneficial Disease. "Benevolent" means peaceful and kind.
  • October 28, 2011
    ChunkyDaddy
    I like Beneficial Disease. :)
  • October 28, 2011
    ChunkyDaddy
    I moved some examples that are really permanent disabilities to Disability Immunity
  • October 28, 2011
    morenohijazo
    Real life: being carrier of sickle-cell disease (also known as drepanocytosis) gives some resistance against malaria, which is why it's so common against people of African origin.
  • October 28, 2011
    ChunkyDaddy
    Sickle cell has already been suggested before and moved to Disability Immunity because it's diseases arising from a genetic disorder and hence a permenant disability. This trope is for diseases that can be cured.
  • October 28, 2011
    Stratadrake
    For the Pokemon example, "Pokerus" (the poke-virus) has actually existed since Generation II. The chances of encountering it in the wild are about 1 in 23,000 (three times as rare as a Shiny encounter), but since there's no visible indication that the wild Mon has it, most players don't actually know about it.
  • October 29, 2011
    Arivne
    The "restricted to diseases that can be cured" should be added to the OP description and possibly the Laconic.

    Film
    • Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Alice gains superhuman strength, speed and agility because the T-virus that infected her has bonded with her on a cellular level.

    The Resident Evil example above is already on Heroic Host, which is similar to but larger in scope than this trope.
  • October 29, 2011
    Koveras
    • Also in The Elder Scrolls, particularly Morrowind, the Corpus disease grants the infected immunity to all other diseases and even prevents them from aging. Too bad it also comes with a big serving of Body Horror and a bad case of crazy, and is completely incurable unless you are the Nerevarine.
  • October 29, 2011
    randomsurfer
    It shouldn't be limited to "diseases that can be cured," simply because there are diseases that can't be cured but they're still diseases. As opposed to sickle cell, which is a genetic disorder.

    Hypothetical example: some character gets a cold, which gives them super-sneeze ability so they can blow people across the room. There is no cure for "the common cold" but it's still a disease.
  • October 31, 2011
    ChunkyDaddy
    I'll update it to make the distinction between Disability Immunity and this trope clearer

    4 hats.. need one more to launch. Is it bad form to give a hat to a trope that you sponsored?
  • October 31, 2011
    Koveras
    ^ There are no hard rules but people who contributed a lot to the write-up are usually biased, so it's best not to.

    EDIT: I added my hat to the pool, now you have five...
  • October 31, 2011
    ChunkyDaddy
    Yes, That's what I was thinking

    Ok, so this YKTTW is Ready For Launch. Going into the Wiki tommorrow
  • October 31, 2011
    pjnick300
    Alex Mercer from Prototype, the DX-11-18 virus gives him the ability mutate his body into an array of weapons, as well as survive being shot, exploded, or stabbed.
  • October 31, 2011
    SharleeD
    • Real Life example: Persons born with the allele for sickle-cell anemia are believed to have a high resistance to malaria as a result. This is generally accepted as the reason this trait is quite widespread in populations native to areas where malaria is rife, despite the down side of those populations' high incidence of sickle-cell.
  • November 1, 2011
    Arivne
    Maybe the description needs a specific statement that sickle-cell anemia is Not An Example.
  • November 1, 2011
    ChunkyDaddy
    Yeah! seriously!

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=d4zciupuwcm91bx9qej3pfvc