The Last of Us TV series – what is Cordyceps?

The Last of Us TV series zombies are different than the infecetd we've seen in other horror shows. Here's what you need to know about cordyceps

Pedro Pascal in The Last of Us stands in front of someoen infected with cordyceps

What is cordyceps in The Last of Us TV series? From The Walking Dead to Kingdom, television is full of zombie apocalypses, but few were as fast or as horrific as the one featured in The Last of Us.

What makes this particular infection so terrifying, though, is that cordyceps — the parasitical fungus that turns people into zombies known as the infected — is actually quite real. However, its effects have been dramatically exaggerated for the TV series.

But what exactly is cordyceps? And what threat does it pose to Joel (Pedro Pascal), Ellie (Bella Ramsey) and all of our other favourite The Last of Us characters?

What is Cordyceps?

In the TV series, cordyceps is a mutated virulent parasitical fungus that causes ‘Cordyceps brain infection’. Those infected with the mould are turned into zombie-like creatures, known as the infected, who seek to spread the infection further.

In the videogame and horror series, these zombie-like monsters, and more advanced forms like the Clickers, are one of the main enemies that Joel and Ellie encounter as they make their way across America.

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If you want to learn more about the infected, then check out our guide explaining the real-world inspiration for cordyceps, or if you want to know about the excellent actors who star in The Last of Us, check out our breakdown of The Last of Us cast.

We’ve also got a guide on how to watch The Last of Us as well as a list of the best zombie movies you can go and watch right now.