When AHS: Asylum was wrapping up it's season in 2012, Ryan Murphy stated he would never do a season about vampires or werewolves because the entire genre was overplayed. So when he announced that this season of American Horror Story would involve bloodsuckers infected by a vampiric virus, many people were upset that Murphy went back on his word. However, Murphy continues to argue that this virus is completely different from your typical vampire.
In this week's episode of [American Horror Story: Hotel](tag:3561561), Gaga's character, The Countess, encounters Tristan Duffy, a famous male model, when Will Drake hosts a fashion show at the Hotel Cortez and immediately becomes infatuated with him. After turning him into one of them, the Countess explains to Tristan the rules of 'the virus'.
One major difference between the typical vampire and those infected with the virus is the means by which one can die. Generally speaking, the usual vampire can be killed a multitude of specific ways, such as a stake to the heart or the ultraviolet light from the sun. However, the Countess points out that those with the virus can be killed in any way a mortal can. She informs Tristan that they must be careful and only their reckless ways can cause their downfall. She also explains that the sun cannot kill them, but that it can drain their vitality. Most vampires turn to ash under the sunlight (except for the 'vampires' in Twilight, they sparkle...pfft)
Although they can be killed by mortal means, the Countess and the others infected are immortals in that they can love forever. When talking to Tristan, she explains to the model that she was born in 1904 and had experienced everything from World War I to the Great Depression to the Disco era of the 70's. In this way, the virus is similar to the typical vampire in that they can live on forever. In addition to living forever, the virus allows for the host to have eternal youth and vitality, never growing old. The virus also grants them a charged immune system.
Another major difference between Dracula, for example, and the Countess is that Dracula uses fangs to suck out the blood of his victims while the Countess and others like her use tools to cut open their victims to drink their blood. In the countess's case, she has an iron glove with sharpened claws as a tool to cut open her victims. Also, Gaga's character explains that they must never drink the blood from the sick or the dead. However, she does not explain what happens if one were to do so.
And finally, the most important rule, Elizabeth explains that once you're infected with the virus, one must never fall in love. Although she does not go into much detail about why, we can only assume it has to do with the person, or whatever he was, that turned her into what she is today. Apparently she didn't tell Donovan this because he was heartbroken when he found out that she turned Tristan into one of them.