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It gave a deceased human 12 hours of life. The serum worked on those with liver diseases, apparently because the cells found within the human liver were the most resistant of all within the human body, as it was stated by molecular biologist Dr. Lia Teng (Crisis). If the serum's healing properties could be extended to cure other diseases, is so far unknown. However, Clark Kent speculated that the serum might be able to cure even heart-based diseases, as his father was suffering from one.
Most probably, the serum was susceptible to the effects of kryptonite, since it changed color while being irradiated by the mineral. After that, it didn't work on a patient who was brought back to life by the same substance one day ago.
Another imperfection of the serum might be limited stability against mechanical stress. This was suggested by Dr. Teng who placed the serum in a special holder after it was removed by Lex Luthor. The risk of instability was then magnified by Clark Kent who removed it again, using super speed. The exact impact on the serum was nevertheless unknown, since it was superimposed by the kryptonite effects before being used on a patient.
Lionel Luthor created it in order to save himself when he was told that he was going to die from liver disease. (Covenant)
- The Lazarus Serum may be another one of Lionel's biblical allusions. In one of the most familiar miracles of Jesus Christ, retold in the Gospel of John, Saint Lazarus (Lazarus of Bethany, or Lazarus of the Four Days) was resurrected by Jesus four days after his death, although he was returned to live the rest of his days, not merely twelve hours.
- In the DC Comics continuity, the Lazarus Pit is a chemical bath used by Ra's al Ghul to restore life to the dying or recently deceased, himself in particular.
- The Lazarus Serum was introduced before producers learned Bruce Wayne was off-limits and replaced him with Adam Knight; however, instead of using it on himself, he would use it to try and resurrect his parents. Al Gough and Miles Millar hoped that they could spin it out into a Bruce Wayne show (as they originally wanted to make before Smallville) where he would train with future villains such as Ra's Al Ghul, Henri Ducard, Slade Wilson, and the Dark Archer. After the latter of which his friend Green Arrow would have convinced him that they were too dark for even Bruce to handle. He would also learn from heroes and their apprentices like Zatara and Zatanna, Ted Grant and Catwoman, Dinah Drake and Dinah Lance, Bronze Tiger and Richard Dragon and more as he would journey on his quest to reach a Lazarus Pit, where he would forsake his wish of bringing back his parents to stop Ra's Al Ghul. But alas, the stars did not align and the Lazarus storyline got a complete re-write.
- Also like in the DC Comics, the serum seems to cause insanity to the reciptent, as was the case with Adam Knight .