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Ideal Illness Immunity

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A character who is somehow immune to all disease.

In Real Life, diseases are a constant and major threat to survival, even for individuals who lead less adventurous lives. And while the human immune system can perform amazing feats of self-preservation at times and has a knack of being able to counter almost anything you can throw at it, no one is truly safe in the face of new, hitherto unseen virus strains and bacteria mutations (not to mention cancer). After all, with the exception of vaccination and some influence from genetics, you have to get sick to become immune to something in the first place.

In fiction, however, illness mainly happens for dramatic reasons, and some speculative fiction authors even go as far as to invent fantastic means to prevent characters from getting sick in the first place. This trope is about such characters.

Often possessed by many supernatural creatures with a Healing Factor, or immortal entities such as gods. Also typically a feature of the Plague Master, who would necessarily have to be immune on some level (they may harbor the outward signs, but are unlikely to actually die from them) to the many diseases they spread around.

Compare STD Immunity and We Will Have Perfect Health in the Future. May coexist with Nigh-Invulnerability — in this trope's case, it's the immune system that is invulnerable to viruses and bacterial strains.

Related to The Immune, a character who for one reason or another is resistant to a particular disease.

See also The Needless.


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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • Poison Ivy from Batman is said to be immune to all toxins and diseases. This becomes a plot point in Batman: Contagion, in which Batman asks her help to deliver an experimental cure for Ebola Gulf-A into a quarantined area.
    • The Legion of Super-Heroes once fights a villain named Immune, whose sole superpower is resistance to all forms of disease.
    • In Teen Titans, one of the side effects of Beast Boy's powers is that he's incapable of getting sick. This apparently didn't carry over to the cartoon, since one episode had him getting a cold.
  • In the Judge Dredd story "No Future", the four dreaded Dark Judges accidentally end up in a future Earth populated solely by very technologically advanced Transhumans. Judge Mortis is a bit confused that his rotting touch had zero effect on his would-be victim, until the latter explains that their environment protects them from all contagions, including Mortis himself.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Whether it's being an Eternal, a god, or a Herald of Galactus, if a character has immortality, then a total immunity to disease is also part of the package.
    • The Incredible Hulk is immune to pretty much every disease on Earth, including AIDS. This becomes a plot point when his old friend Jim Wilson returns to his life having contracted AIDS, and has to deal with the dilemma whether to give Jim a transfusion of his blood which could save his life, but condemn him to a life much like his. He doesn't go through with it.
  • Promethea, being a sort of avatar of human imagination, is at one point stated to be "disease-proof".
  • PS238: F.I.S.S. metahumans have superpowered immune systems alongside everything else and are immune to most common forms of sickness. Even an alien bioweapon is defeatable in its early stages by a F.I.S.S. blood donation, although a Power Nullifier is needed to keep the blood from killing the patient afterwards. Guardian Angel is also immune to disease, but that's because her Guardian Entity prevents all harm from coming to her — when the same Power Nullifier is used on her, it turns out that she has no 'natural' immune system from birth at all and she is killed by a Rhinovirus infection.

    Fan Works 
  • Always Visible: The work does not say how things were with Delia’s health, but considering that she sat without any problems all night on an open window in one chemise, she apparently does not complain about her health.
  • Elsa in Becoming Free almost never gets sick due to being An Ice Person. Most normal viruses and illnesses don't affect her.
  • Izuku Midoriya in Cursed Blood. In this story, Izuku has a Quirk that manifests in the form of micro-organisms that inhabit his blood. However, it doesn't actually make Izuku immune - the micro-organisms just wipe out any foreign cell or virus entering Izuku's body before it interacts with anything else.
  • Vow of Nudity: Spectra plays this perfectly straight, with her necklace preventing any disease. Haara has a downplayed version, in that she can use her Healing Hands on herself to cure any disease, but nothing's stopping her from initially contracting it.
  • In With a Key and a Kite, part of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton’s superpower is that she has a Healing Factor and is immune to infections and diseases. When everyone in her house gets scarlet fever, she doesn't, and drinking at homes with cholera still doesn’t give her any ailments.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Brandon Breyer from Brightburn has never been sick, owing to his extraterrestrial nature.
  • In The Man Who Could Cheat Death, Dr. Bonnet explains to Dr. Gerrard that ever since he had the first transplant that granted him eternal youth, he has never been sick, never had a headache or a toothache, or even a blemish on his skin. So long as he has a transplant every ten years, he never will.
  • Damian Thorn from the The Omen never gets ill with any common childhood illnesses, and is apparently also immune to dangerous chemicals.
  • Unbreakable: One of the factors that make David realize that he is superhuman is the fact that he's never gotten sick or taken a day off from work.

  • The vampires of the Black Dagger Brotherhood very rarely have to worry about illness, and never human ones — as Wrath points out 'I couldn't catch anything you might give me' and are immune to cancer (which is handy, because several of them smoke like chimneys). This also extends to having STD Immunity (luckily for sex-obsessed Rhage).
  • City of Bones (1995): Krismen are bio-engineered to be highly resistant to the venom of various desert creatures, as well as immune to heatstroke and most diseases that afflict humans—and also can't be affected by Wardens' soul reading or the Inhabitants' Mind Rape. However, they can contract infection from bad wounds or from forcing foreign objects into their pouch.
  • In Doom, Arlene gives Jill a sex ed talk during the LA mission. Afterward, she laments that humanity had beaten STDs, including AIDS, just in time for aliens to wipe out most of the species.
  • In Emergence, hominems are immune to any infectious disease that humans can contract. However, they are not immune to food poisoning, as one hominem learns while also learning he's actually a hominem (he'd always thought he was human).
  • The Frugal Wizard's Handbook for Surviving Medieval England: One function of the protagonist's internal Nanomachines is to boost his immune system. It's a big help when he's Trapped in Another World, neutralizing potential hazards like drinking contaminated water or spreading an Earth disease to the locals.
  • In the Newsflesh series, a genetically modified virus means people are immune to the common cold and never get cancer. Instead, they turn into zombies.
  • Most humans born on Earth in the Noon Universe undergo the procedure called "fukamization", which renders them impervious to all diseases and even harmful radiation.
  • In Renegades, an artifact called the Amulet of Vitality grants the wearer the immunity not only to all diseases, but also poisons and superpowers that mess with the body, such as Power Parasitism. After Adrian tattoos its pattern on himself with his Power of Creation, he's similarly immune.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: This is one of the superhuman, vaguely elven characteristics popularly attributed to the Targaryens, with Daenerys being confident enough of this that she personally tends to people dying of the flux (i.e., dysentery). As to the accuracy of this belief, there are multiple historical cases related in the books of Targaryens getting ill (Princesses Maegelle and Daenerys — daughters of Jaehaerys I — died of grayscale and what sounds like a flu, Aegon III of consumption, Viserys II of a unknown illness,note  Daeron II and his two immediate heirs of the Great Spring Sickness, Jaehaerys II — Daenerys' own grandfather — of another unknown illness, and Maester Aemon of pneumonia), and Dany displays mysterious symptoms of something at the end of A Dance with Dragons.
  • The elves in Tolkien's Legendarium are utterly unaffected by diseases, along with other nifty talents.
  • Warbreaker: Holding Breath strengthens the immune system; thus, Drabs are more vulnerable to disease, while those with several hundred Breaths on up are essentially immune to sickness. This ends up screwing Vivenna over when she has to temporarily give up her stockpile of Breath, and suddenly comes down with multiple diseases that Breath was holding at bay.
  • The Windup people of The Windup Girl all have total disease immunity as part of their suite of genetic alterations. This is a huge benefit in dystopian future Earth where genetic engineering gone wild has led to an explosion of man-made diseases. The Evil Genius generipper who helped bring about this Crapsack World argues it would be better to upgrade humanity as a whole than fight a losing battle against pandemics.
  • The eponymous witchers of the The Witcher saga, including the protagonist Geralt, are immune to all known diseases (including plague, which is new to his world) as a result of their mutation. Which, incidentally, allows them to screw around without fear of STDs.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A variation with the Irathient in Defiance. They are immune to most diseases, but they can still be carriers. This is one of the reasons they are looked down upon by most races, especially since they are inherently distrustful of vaccines.
  • This is the plot of The Immortal (1969). The protagonist is immune to all known diseases, and a lot of people want to chase him down and get his blood because of it.
  • Played with in The Office (US). Dwight claims that he has never been sick in his life. Jim rightly points out that Dwight shouldn't have any immunities then.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): The episode "The New Breed" involves prototype nanites developed to make this a reality. Basically, the nanites are designed to move through the body and look for any cellular abnormalities. The damaged or mutated cells would then be restored to their original state. And yes, someone even accuses the scientist who develops them of playing God. Unfortunately, a friend of his decides to inject himself with the nanites before they're fully tested. Given the nature of the series, things go horribly wrong.
  • Goa'uld hosts in Stargate SG-1 are immune to diseases thanks to the symbiote's innate Healing Factor (it can also heal diseases that the host has before the Goa'uld is implanted). Jaffa, which serve as incubators to Goa'uld larvae, have a lesser version of this immunity and must enter a meditative trance to heal. This is actually part of a deal worked out between the Tau'ri and the Tok'ra. Since the Tok'ra require the host's consent before being implanted, Daniel offers sending them hosts from among the terminally ill. The ill would likely agree to become a Tok'ra host in exchange for a cure. Jacob Carter (Sam's father) becomes the first. The Tok'ra symbiote Selmak cures his cancer. In return, Jacob's military experience proves invaluable to the Tok'ra.
  • Star Trek:
    • The Ferengi are immune to almost all known diseases, but they can get infections.
    • Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation and the Doctor from Star Trek: Voyager, being artificial life forms, are immune to all diseases that threaten their meatbag colleagues.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In 7th Sea, characters with Sidhe Blood can take a blessing which makes them age more slowly and makes them immune to illness.
  • In Aberrant, Novas are immune to all baseline diseases. However, some Nova specific diseases have begun to evolve (or been created).
  • One option for the "Life Support" power in Champions is Immunity to All Terrestrial Diseases, 5 points. Or you can just buy Immunity to a specific disease, but if you want multiple immunities, it's cheaper to just buy the whole thing.
  • Chronicles of Darkness: A number of the game's splats (including werewolves, Prometheans, and the fan-made Leviathans) gain their Supernatural Potency as a bonus to resist poison or disease.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Characters of The Paladin class of 3rd level and higher are immune to all forms of sickness, thanks to their piety and favor with the gods. Consequentially, if they Fall, their immunity to disease is revoked with all the other bonuses.
    • Anti-Paladins, on the other hand, are immune to the effects and symptoms of diseases, but they can still be infected and thus act as carriers to (deliberately) spread plagues and diseases to others. A prestige class called "Cancer Mage" is designed to weaponize a similar immunity.
    • The Monk class gains "Purity of body" at 5th level, which gives immunity to natural diseases. This is considered much less interesting than the Paladin power, since natural diseases are easy to heal by any mid-level cleric, and even without access to magic any character with good fortitude saves is likely to recover naturally in a few days. Magical and supernatural diseases, now, tend to be much nastier.
    • Some Prestige Classes gain similar immunities; the Tattooed Monk can pick a Power Tattoo granting immunity to natural diseases (and later, to poison and aging); the Contemplative, a prestige class for divine casters with a stronger rapport with their deity, grant complete immunity to natural and magical diseases with the first level.
    • In 1st Edition, several monster types were immune to disease, such as hollyphants, shades, and werebears.
    • Undead and Constructs are also immune to disease, for the simple reason that they're not alive.
  • The Exalted are highly resistant to disease, but not completely immune. Some magic, however, can grant such immunity, like the appropriately named Solar charm Immunity to Everything Technique.
  • GURPS:
    • The third edition has the Advantage called Immunity to Disease, which gives complete immunity to all diseases. The Advantage called Immortality includes Immunity to Disease.
    • The fourth edition has the Immunity to Disease advantage (along with lesser versions which give bonuses to resisting diseases). It does not come standard with any level of Unkillable (4e's version of the Immortality advantage).
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Space Marines are all immune to illness by designs of their maker, the Emperor of Mankind.
      "They will be untouched by plague or disease; no sickness will blight them."
    • Averted by the Death Guard legion and other Plague Marines, who sold themselves to the service of Nurgle, the god of pestilence and decay, after they were infected with a plague (created by Nurgle himself) so virulent even their enhanced immune systems couldn't cope with it and selling their souls was the only way to survive. Similarly, in the novel Ragnar's Claw, a group of Space Wolves is sickened by mere proximity to an Unclean One, a greater daemon of Nurgle.
    • Dark Heresy and the other WH40K RPGs have a few traits that make a being immune to diseases (among other things), most notably "machine" (commonly found on machines, but also on techpriests and other heavily cyberneticized beings) and "stuff of nightmares" (usually associated with things like Daemons; gives the being, as stated by the rulebook, "an appalling list of immunities"). Dark Eldar Haemonculi and their fleshcrafted minions also have a trait that makes the immune to poisons and diseases.

    Video Games 
  • In Battleborn, the Jennerit's Sustainment process makes those who've undergone it not only never aging immortals but also grants them immunity from natural illnesses.
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2: Being a vampire cursed with Complete Immortality, Gabriel Belmont/Dracula is naturally immune to all poisons and diseases; for example, when he is exposed to an artificially engineered virus that turns humans into monsters instantly, he is completely unaffected. There are not even ill effects for drinking their corrupted blood.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Throughout the series, this is a racial trait of the Argonians. Downplayed in that it's not truly "ideal," but the Argonians are naturally highly resistant to most forms of disease. This actually may have hurt their reputation during the deadly Knahaten Flu outbreak in the 2nd Era, which crippled much of Tamriel. As the Argonians were immune to the disease, they were blamed as the creators (or at least as carriers) of the disease, souring their relations with many of the other races of Tamriel.
    • In all games save Arena, being a vampire renders you immune to disease, which is a little ironic considering that you become one by contracting a disease (variously known as vampirism, porphyric hemophilia, or sanguinare vampiris depending on the game). This also allows for a One Curse Limit and Hybrid-Overkill Avoidance with lycanthropy, as the two diseases are mutually exclusive (barring cheats or mods).
    • The Corprus Disease in Morrowind grants the infected immunity to all other diseases — at the cost of major case of insanity and Body Horror. If the player follows the storyline, however, they will contract Corprus and be healed of its negative effects in short succession — while retaining the nifty perk of perfect immunity to everything.
    • In Skyrim, being a werewolf likewise makes you immune to all diseases. Also, with enough skills and materials, you can enchant equipment to fully protect you from diseases, or find such items through luck (which is the prerequisite to unlock disease immunity enchantment through destroying it).
  • The vorcha in Mass Effect are immune to all diseases, which allowed the mostly vorcha Blood Pack mercenaries to try to take over Omega's slums when the Collector plague hit in Mass Effect 2. They presumably evolved this to counter their incredibly violent lifestyles (infection would have rendered them extinct long ago without it); even with this immunity, their lifespan is still only about thirty years on the outside. However, it's worth mentioning that, according to the in-game codex, they are not immune to everything at the same time. Basically, they have clusters of unassigned stem cells (which can turn into any type of cell possible but haven't) in their bodies even during adulthood, so when they are faced with life-threatening situations, these cells change to counter that (krogan use this in Bloodpack by beating vorcha, making them get thicker skins). If a new disease is introduced, these cells make sure that vorcha are immune, but the number of these clusters is limited and when they are used up, they can't regrow. In other words, the vorcha immune to Omega plague would have probably died if exposed to a normal deadly disease.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Shadow the Hedgehog's status as the Ultimate Life Form isn't solely due to sheer power, it's because he's The Ageless and has a perfect immune system, and thus biologically immortal. His creator was aiming for this to save his terminally ill daughter.
  • This serves as a minor plot point in Star Ocean: The Last Hope when Reimi contracts an always fatal disease from the inhabitants of a foreign planet. Eventually she has no choice but to reveal that she was genetically engineered to resist all diseases. Within time, the petrification of her left foot disappears.
  • Trauma Center: Rosalia Rosellini from Trauma Team is miraculously able to exist in perfect symbiosis with a super-virus and implied Mystical Plague that renders her immune to any other form of disease. Unfortunately, this applies only to that character, and anyone else who contracts the virus falls victim to a deadly infection with amped-up symptoms of viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) that kills in a matter of days.
  • According to the unit lore for Warcraft III's Death Knight hero, Paladins are immune to all disease, including the Plague of Undeath that was at the time choking the kingdom of Lordaeron. The terrified common folk became suspicious of the Paladins' seemingly perfect health while wading in so much sickness and death, and shunned and persecuted them, believing that they were actually infected. Some Paladins eventually decided Then Let Me Be Evil and became Death Knights. Much later, in World of Warcraft, a quest line involves a Paladin of the Argent Crusade being infected by the Plague, apparently contradicting this.

  • The Order of the Stick: The Crimson Mantle, an artifact created by the Dark One, the god of goblinkind, grants his high priest Redcloak immunity to disease (and extended youth). In the print-only prequel Start of Darkness, he is the only one in his party unaffected by a disease created by Lirian, a powerful druid, that blocks all spellcasting abilities. Since he retains his powers, he is able to help Xykon turn into a lich; being undead (and therefore also immune to disease) restores Xykon's spellcasting and allows them to break out of Lirian's captivity.

    Western Animation 
  • Archie in Class of the Titans is descended from Achilles. While he lacks his ancestor's invulnerability, he does exhibit this trope, extending to immunity to supernatural plagues like the ones in Pandora's Box.
  • The Simpsons: In "The Mansion Family", Mr. Burns is told that he has every known disease and a few new ones.
    Burns: This sounds like bad news.
    Doctor: Well, you'd think so, but all of your diseases are in perfect balance. [gives analogy explaining how they all counteract each other]
    Burns: So what you're saying is, I'm indestructible!
    Doctor: [anxious] Oh, no, no, in fact, even a slight breeze could —
    Burns: Indestructible...
  • In X-Men: The Animated Series, Wolverine's Healing Factor also grants him quick recovery from almost any disease. This becomes a major plot point in a two-part episode: Bishop and Cable both travel back in time to prevent a bioengineered plague from wiping out mutantkind; the former is trying to prevent the disease entirely to save billions of lives in the near future, while the latter is from further in the future where the virus' effect stabilized aspects of the mutant gene preventing worldwide extinction of both humans and mutants. Cable solves the problem by allowing Wolverine to get infected with the plague. Wolverine recovers in minutes, and his immune system now has antibodies that can be used to manufacture a vaccine for the plague, preventing the deadly epidemic while passing along the beneficial aspects required to preserve Cable's timeline.