The Ruku virus played a large part in the Blackgaard saga.
This virus is deadly only when injected into the bloodstream, but when it contacts oxygen, it dies. TA-418 is a compound that causes the Rukuta virus to adapt to its surroundings, so that oxygen cannot affect it. Two of the creators of TA-418 are Tasha Forbes, and John Avery Whittaker, they used their names to name the compound. The third creator is Hans Tessler, who developed the Ruku virus.
The TA-418 compound was sent to Jason Whittaker from Tasha Forbes to keep safe from Red Scorpion. Red Scorpion threatened to use the virus to infect the water although it would not have worked because Red Scorpion did not have the complete formula of TA-418.
Jack Allen: So, help me to understand what’s going on here. This mineral under Whit's End will give [Dr. Blackgaard] power and money?
Jason Whittaker: Well, the mineral alone won’t. You see, the mineral acts as a catalyst, a trigger, in a compound called TA-418.
Jack Allen: Wait a minute, “TA-418?”
Jason Whitaker: Uh-huh, it's a chemical formula Dad and a friend of mine worked on.
Jack Allen: Whit worked on it?
Jason Whittaker: Yeah; surprise, huh? Turns out it was easy since the mineral was right here under his feet!
Jack Allen: Hmm. So the mineral goes into a formula, and then what will Blackgaard do with it?
Jason Whittaker: Blackgaard needs TA-418 to make something called Ruku.
Jack Allen: Uh, Ruku?
Jason Whittaker: Yeah. It’s an extremely deadly virus, but without the compound, it dies the second it’s exposed to air.
Jack Allen: And that's where this TA-418 comes in, huh?
Jason Whittaker: Right. What TA-418 does is attach itself to the virus’ DNA and cause it to adapt to anything; air, dirt, water; that’s what makes it so contagious!
Jack Allen: ...And deadly. It’s hard to believe that’s even possible.
Jason Whittaker: I know, but look around you. This entire scheme has been one concentrated effort to get that mineral. Blackgaard has to be stopped, or he'll be able to sell the virus to anyone. He could hold entire nations hostage, and do who-knows-what with the rest of the mineral!
— #334: “The Final Conflict”