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Goku is the main protagonist in 'Dragon Ball' (Image via Funimation)

Dragon Ball theory: How did Goku get the heart virus?

Dragon Ball’s characters range from normal humans to gods of destruction to aliens to animals. The most famous is Son Goku, the Saiyan raised as a human on Earth.

He is one of the most famous characters in all of the eastern and western media, heralded for his strength, power, and ability to overcome any limitations placed in his way.


Yet, early in the Android/Cell Saga, Goku learns that there was one foe he could never beat without medicine from the future. It was a heart virus, powerful enough to overcome his natural Saiyan biology and his Super Saiyan form.

What is so strange about this virus is that it is powerful enough to overwhelm Goku’s immune system, which, as a pure-blooded Saiyan, is much stronger than an earthling’s. Even with close, prolonged contact with his friends and family, none of them displayed symptoms of the virus.

There are many theories about how Goku got this virus, but this article will review one of the most prominent ones.


Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers for Dragon Ball. Please read at your own risk.


Dragon Ball’s heart virus came from Planet Yardrat theory

After the end of the Namek Saga, Goku was returning home in one of the Ginyu force’s space-pods. He sustained wounds and injuries from his battle with Emperor Frieza, one of Dragon Ball’s most feared villains. He cannot control the pod and crash lands on the Planet Yardrat.

There, he was nursed back to health by the local Yadratians and taught the Instant Transmission technique. Given that Goku is the only one among the cast to have contact with Yardrat in any way, it is likely he contacted the Heart Virus during his stay.


Dragon Ball’s Goku had received many injuries during his battle with Frieza, many of which were unhealed when he arrived at Yadrat. In his weakened state, the heart virus might have infected him while he was on the planet, and when Goku returned to Earth, it was built up over time.

As Goku himself states, he was given food by the locals, and it is also possible that his body was unable to process the nutrition or had otherwise contacted it via one of his open wounds.

Quirks of the virus

As stated previously, the virus is quite odd, given that Goku is the only one infected and his transformation into a Super Saiyan. The latter previously allowed him to endure heavy damage, such as allowing him to survive being thrown into lava.

But it is possible the virus feeds off Ki, the natural life source that allows the cast of Dragon Ball to do superhuman feats. Goku going Super Saiyan accelerates the symptoms of the virus, as he is supercharging his body with Ki.

In between Chapters 334-335 of the Dragon Ball manga, Future Trunks goes back into his Past and into the Present of the Dragon Team to give Son Goku medication for a heart virus and warns of Artificial Humans threatening to destroy Earth…we also get a basic timeline of events.
4:27 AM · Oct 20, 2021

However, Future Trunks mentions that his mother, Dragon Ball’s scientist Bulma, managed to create a cure to the virus, which she couldn’t have done if Goku was the only one who contracted the sickness. But with her intelligence and resources, Bulma could have devised a cure after witnessing Goku’s death.


Readers must keep in mind that there isn’t a concrete answer for this theory, as it is a plot device made to keep Goku from ending the conflict prematurely.

Note: This article reflects the author’s views.

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Edited by
Ravi Iyer
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