Before the process starts, the Wraith in question remains in its natural state, but after undergoing the procedure, their body's Iratus bug DNA is suppressed, resulting in a Human appearance. A side effect of the process is amnesia; the subject forgets everything before their transformation. However, the genetic treatments are not stable and injections of medication are required on a regular basis in order to maintain the changes brought about in the body. Without the treatments, the individual begins a slow process of reversion and will begin displaying Wraith characteristics once more. Furthermore, there is a high likelihood of their memory returning. After undergoing temporary transformation by the retrovirus, a human-form Wraith may either revert to their original Wraith form or turn into a Human-Wraith Hybrid. (SGA: "Michael", "Misbegotten")
Ellia and the first retrovirusEdit
Speculating that Wraith are the evolved form of Iratus bugs that have fed on Humans, Dr. Carson Beckett and a science team in the Atlantis expedition began developing a means of stripping away the Iratus bug DNA, leaving only Human DNA behind. A retrovirus was created but was far from completion, partly because the expedition lacked living tissue and blood samples needed to test it. Upon learning of Ellia, a young, female Wraith isolated from the rest of the Wraith population, Beckett traveled to her planet to further his research on the drug. Unfortunately, Ellia, in her eagerness to become Human, injected herself with the experimental retrovirus. It had the opposite effect. Her Human DNA suppressed, she became feral. Ronon Dex and Lt. Colonel John Sheppard were forced to kill what would be the only willing Human-form Wraith candidate. Unfortunately, her attempt to feed on Sheppard infected him with the retrovirus and caused him to start to turn into a bug-like creature too. Fortunately for him, Beckett found a cure before the process became irreversible. (SGA: "Instinct", "Conversion")
The first trialEdit
Patient #4364: Lt. Michael Kenmore, the first official test subject for the Iratus bug retrovirus. At an unknown location (probably a Wraith cruiser: that's where Michael was supposedly "rescued" from) and time, the members of Lt. Colonel John Sheppard's team were able to capture a live Wraith and return with him to Atlantis. Dr. Carson Beckett and his team were able to perfect a viable drug, which they decided to test on Michael, named so by Sheppard on Day One of the trial. Michael was entirely lucid for the majority of the trial, and did not take kindly to being restrained and experimented on. The transformation period lasted roughly two weeks, and it appeared to be very painful. By Day Seven, his transformation was nearly complete, though he did still show signs of lucidity. On Day Ten, Michael, who now appeared to be fully human, continued to writhe and scream. The pain subsided by Day Twelve and a Human-form Michael laid on the infirmary bed, unconscious. Beckett mentioned that he would likely regain consciousness. Some time later, he did, but was suffering from amnesia.
Dr. Elizabeth Weir made the decision not to reveal the truth to Michael about his condition. Instead, a past was fabricated for him in which he was a Lieutenant under Sheppard's command. Details included: Michael grew up in Texas and only recently joined the Atlantis expedition; he was sent on a mission to recover Wraith intelligence; the mission was a success, however, Michael was captured by the Wraith and subsequently rescued by Sheppard and his team. Beckett also had to give Michael daily injections of a drug cocktail that would continue to suppress the Iratus bug DNA. Michael was told he is a diabetic, and the injections were insulin.
Michael's amnesia, it seems, was not complete. He remembered certain things about both the Wraith and Atlantis, and immediately recognized Wraith materializer schematics. His basic Wraith instincts also remained. He experienced a growing sense of hunger and aggression. Upon learning of the expedition's deception, these instincts grew. His desire to escape led him to kill Sgt. Cole. Michael was stunned, captured, stunned again and sedated for transport to the Pegasus Alpha Site where his drug treatments were to continue, but he escaped a second time. His Wraith abilities returning, he was able to use mind control to persuade Teyla Emmagan to free him from his restraints. He took Teyla hostage and escaped through the Stargate to a planet inhabited by Wraith. Michael very quickly began reverting to his Wraith form, though unbeknownst to him and the others at the time, he would remain a Human-Wraith Hybrid.
The consequences of this trial stretched out for years. Michael never fully reverted into a Wraith as the effects of the retrovirus were never able to be fully reversed. Michael never was accepted among the Wraith again and ended up abandoning them in fear of his life. Michael ends up going insane and starts a crusade to take over the galaxy before being defeated in battle by the Daedalus and later killed by Teyla. (SGA: "Vengeance", "Search and Rescue", "The Prodigal")
The second trialEdit
After Michael Kenmore's return to his Hive ship, he informed his fellow Wraith of the events that transpired during his capture by the Atlantis expedition. The Hive then approached Atlantis under the guise of allying with the expedition in weaponizing the retrovirus. Because the Wraith awoke before it was time, there was not enough "food" in the Pegasus galaxy, and as such, a civil war had broken out; by weaponizing the retrovirus, Michael's Hive would be given a new food source in the Human-form Wraith, while simultaneously gaining the upper hand in the civil war.
As the plan went forward, a Wraith Scientist was sent to assist Dr. Carson Beckett and Dr. Radek Zelenka in their experimentation of how to deploy the retrovirus, as aerosol gas, inside a Hive ship in a way that would affect the entire Hive as quickly as possible. To do this they would need to use aerodynamic dissemination, but they were still unsure as to how long the transformation process would take. It was at this time that an unknown Wraith was subjected to the aerosol gas form of the retrovirus so that the effects could be studied. From this experiment, they discovered it takes roughly ten hours for the Wraith to fully transform, much faster than their initial test on Michael. Michael's Queen demanded to see the patient. The retrovirus gas was vented from the room, and immediately upon entering, the Queen began feeding on the Human-form Wraith. She confirmed that the retrovirus worked and that Human-form Wraith are a viable food source. (SGA: "Allies")
The final weaponization testEdit
Human-form Wraith are considered outcasts from both societies. They are feared and hunted by both Humans as well as Wraith. This was because the Wraith were intolerant of any impurities among their kind and were capable of sensing the Human within these transformed former members of their race. This made them hostile to the Human-form Wraith who were only tolerated if they were useful. Otherwise, they were targeted and killed.
Only the male Wraith appear to affected by the retrovirus with the Hive Queens showing a considerable amount of immunity to the genetic changes. However, they are somewhat weakened by it if flooded into an area in gaseous form. The natural telepathic abilities of the Wraith are not entirely suppressed and once they recall their memories, the Human-form Wraith are capable of magnifying their talents in order to summon Hive ships that are some distance away. (SGA: "No Man's Land", "Misbegotten", "Vengeance")
- It is presumed that most (if not all) of the Human-form Wraith were killed by the Hive that rescued them from M8G-352, Michael being the only survivor as at least most of the Human-form Wraith were seen in the camp just before McKay opened fire on it. If this is indeed the case, then there are no Human-form Wraith left. Michael reverted a second time to his Hybrid form, as would any other Human-form Wraith without frequent injections of the retrovirus. It is quite likely he is the only survivor as he said he ended up having to flee for his life from the Wraith. Michael was later killed by Teyla Emmagan, killing the last remaining known human-form Wraith.
The clone of Carson Beckett later reflects on the Human-form Wraith while discussing Teyla's powers with her. He and Teyla both remember how the Human-form Wraith seemed like men yet they slaughtered them because they were Wraith and too dangerous. (SGA: "The Lost")