The Ebola virus was discovered in Africa in 1976. Highly infectious and having a mortality rate of 90%, it spawned international concern over the possibility of a deadly pandemic. Umbrella Pharmaceuticals was granted permission by the US government to take a sample of the virus to the Arklay Laboratory for vaccine research in 1978, with research overseen by Dr. William Birkin and his colleague Dr. Albert Wesker. Fascinated with the virus' potency, Dr. Birkin extracted immuno-suppressant VP24 and VP35 from the virus and merged it into the genome of a modified strain of Progenitor Virus present in the lab. This new virus, part of the wider "t-Virus Project", was able to evade a host's immune system and thus prevent the immune system killing the host.