Radical-6 is a lethal virus in Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward and is an important subject of the story and the series. First appearing in 2028, it caused a worldwide pandemic, almost eradicating humanity.
It is extremely contagious, requiring a quarantine for any afflicted by it. Radical-6 has two major symptoms.
The first symptom affects the brain, mainly a person's perception of time. An infected human perceives time at about √6 of normal rate, increasing mental processing rate. For every roughly 2.45 seconds in real time, an infected individual would process this as 1 second. Thus 2 minutes and 27 seconds (147 seconds) in real time is perceived as 1 minute (60 seconds) to a patient infected by Radical-6.
The second and truly fatal symptom is an overwhelmingly strong desire to commit suicide. It is strongly implied or believed that this is because the virus' first symptom of the slowed processing rate. Because the brain's processing rate is slowed, they are taking in more information, and the brain can't keep up and thus starts to fail. There is no premeditated method that they will suicide. Most will choose simple methods such as shooting themselves, hanging themselves, etc. Usual rational thought is ignored since depravity to kill themselves leads to individuals crashing planes and mass unified suicide. The desire is so strong that even a small child can slightly overpower an adult trying to subdue them. The only possible way to stop this symptom is to knock the individual out with a strong sedative such as Soporil ß.
A Treatment Pod can slow down and ease the symptoms of Radical-6, however, it cannot fully remove the virus. There is only one known cure that can completely rid an individual of Radical-6: Axelavir.
Patients that are showing signs of Radical-6 will stand with their eyes blank and their mouths slightly hanging open as their processing speed is slowed down. To the patient, the world will appear as if it is on "fast-forward". Everything happening, including when someone speaks, appears to be sped up and can hardly be understood.
In 2028, Radical-6 first appeared after a Mars Landing Simulation fails and the participants become infected by this disease. It is not known why the virus was present in this test site. The disease spread across the world, becoming a global pandemic. Bodies began to pile up in the millions as people committed suicide by any means, even committing mass suicide.
In 2029, the death rate became so bad that humans plotted to eradicate the virus by blowing up 18 antimatter plants simultaneously. However, by doing so, the dust fallout blotted out the sun, killing millions of lives including plants and animals.
In 2038, from several survivors who built up an immunity to the disease, Axelavir is developed as a cure for Radical-6.
In 2074, during the events of the AB Project, 8 participants of the game were infected with Radical-6. One was not infected because they are a GAULEM, thus immune to diseases. They were infected to help develop Phi and Sigma's timeline jumping abilities. It was also use to mask the fact that they were on the moon where gravity was 1/6th the normal strength. The disease's most deadly symptom were shown only through Quark and Alice. In most routes, Quark shows suicidal thoughts after going through the first set of Chromatic Doors and is quickly subdued with Soporil ß. Usually right after Quark is sedated, Alice begins to show signs of the disease. In some routes, Alice does kill herself, while in some she is knocked out as well.
Sigma also shows symptoms of Radical-6 in the Security Room on Luna's ending path when Phi appears to speak faster than Sigma can comprehend.
Everyone possibly shows the suicide symptoms in Clover's Ending as everyone including Phi and ultimately Sigma. All participants die from suicide.
In some endings, including the True Ending, Quark and Alice are cured of their suicidal condition.