H8E is a virus, a deadlier version of avian flu, created by the 99 Percenters and first mentioned in Nevermore. It was known among the group as "The Finisher." It was originally believed to be the cause of the upcoming apocalypse, but Dylan later believed that the real threat was a meteor.
(As explained by Dr. Martinez)
|“||The toxin is first inhaled and moves through the lungs, causing a slight cough and, in some cases, a rash. The cells multiply, creating internal fissures in the organs and hemorrhaging into the bloodstream. A short time later, boils appear on the skin's surface. When the boils burst, the wounds weep, shedding billions of the highly contagious cells and infecting, basically, anyone in the vicinity. At this point, with so many open sores secreting contagion, the victim will likely develop a staph infection that will quickly progress to necrotizing fasciitis, literally rotting the skin off the body in a matter of days.||”|
–Dr. Martinez, Nevermore
The 99 Percenters worked on the virus for years before releasing it, right before the meteor struck Earth. It wiped out one quarter of the world's population within one month.
In Nevermore, Dr. Martinez said that it mutated too fast to create any antidote, and the plan was for a select group of people to be quarantined on Paradise and wait it out. However, in Maximum Ride Forever it was said that Nino Pierpont had stocked the caves beneath Paradise with a vaccine which was destroyed during the tsunamis. The Remedy developed and sold his own vaccine to gain power, using scientists like Matthew and Lucas Morrissey. Later, using Fang's DNA, he Morrissey brothers recreated the original vaccine sometime during the nuclear winter.
- The bird kids are naturally immune to H8E because of their mixed DNA (since the virus was originally a form of avian flu). Fang's DNA was used to create the vaccine, possibly because of his immortality gene.