A Russian scientist—and it's very hard not to caveat that job description with the word "mad," by the way—has claimed that injecting himself with 3.5 million-year-old bacteria found in Siberian permafrost has made him flu-proof for two years and may hold within it the key to immortality.
Russian Scientist Anatoli Brouchkov, head of the geocryology department at Moscow State University, told RT that he had more energy and a stronger immune system since he started injecting himself with the Bacillus F bacteria after successful experiments on mice and fruit flies.
"I started to work longer," he said. "I've never had a flu for the last two years. But it still need the experiments. We have to work out how this bacteria prevents aging. I think that is the way this science should develop. What is keeping that mechanism alive? And how can we use it for our own benefits?"
Bacillus F was one of three extremely ancient bacteria strains discovered at a permafrost site known as "Mammoth Mounter" in the Sakha Republic in 2009. Since its discovery, scientists—such as Professor Sergey Petrov of the Tyumen Scientific Centre—have conducted various experiments on animals, finding the bacteria increased the longevity and fertility of mice ("Mice grannies not only began to dance, but also produced offspring," he told the Siberian Times, amazingly), and had begun similar experiments on human blood cells. But, for now, Brouchkov is the first to go fully off-piste and just straight up inject himself with millennia-old bacteria for the goofs of it.
"I would say, there exist [in the world] immortal bacteria, immortal beings. They cannot die. To [be] more precise, they can protect themselves," he told RT. "Our cells are unable to protect themselves from damage; these bacteria cells are able to protect themselves."
Getting extreme "super villain origin story" vibes from Brouchkov, here. Both he and his fellow scientists can't actually figure out the mechanism that is protecting cells from damage. He has basically found some dirt in the frost and injected it into his body and now he is powerful. Bullets will not stop him, soon. Fire will not burn him. Anatoli Brouchkov, roaring and humungous, throws a skyscraper at the moon. If we want to live in peace, we need to start injecting a strong heroic man with similar doses of Bacillus F now, just to counteract the inevitable Brouchkov threat.
But then maybe a swift death at the impenetrable, long-life hands of Anatoli Brouchkov will be a blessed relief for us all. Because with the quest for immortal (or at least long) life becoming du jour for scientists, we probably need to start asking whether we even want to live forever. Do we want to make it to the year 3015, with only insane and strong Russian scientists for company? Do you want to live another thousand years? Imagine how much debt you will accrue. How many people you will meet at parties briefly, decide you don't really like, and then, for infinity, have to avoid them if you see them catching the same train as you to work. How long do you really think you can go without having ever seen The Wire, and having to explain to people how you made it to the age of 500 without ever having sat down and seen The Wire? Imagine how embarrassing your life will be when you excitedly tell people you've started writing your novel and, 6,000 years later, you still haven't finished it yet. No. No thank you. No infinite life for me, thanks. If anything, kill me now.
Follow Joel Golby on Twitter.