As the head of Moscow State University’s Geocryology department, Anatoli Brouchkov has made discovering the secrets hidden in the Siberian permafrost his life’s work. In 2009, Brouchkov discovered an ancient strain of “bacillus” (rod shaped) bacteria that that he believed to have been frozen in the ice for over 3.5 million years.
As a whole, the bacillus genus includes a wide variety of different species—some are oxygen-dependent, others can do without it. What’s true of most of the genus, though, is that it’s capable of shifting into a dormant form similar to a spore and survive for extended periods of time. After successfully cultivating batches of active specimen, Brouchkov exposed other organisms to the bacteria to see what effect they might have.
So far, the bacteria, which Brouchkov is calling Bacillus F, has reportedly increased certain vegetation’s ability to survive in cold temperatures and enabled female test mice to reproduce longer as they age. After observing all that Bacillus F could do for plants and animal test subjects, Brouchkov did what any sensible researcher of ancient bacteria would do: he injected himself with it. Considering how long the bacteria managed to survive in the frozen hell that is the Siberian tundra, Brouchkov hypothesized that Bacillus F might just be the key to immortality.
The results? Pretty good! Though whether Brouchkov is now immortal remains unclear.
“It wasn't quite a scientific experiment, so I cannot professionally describe the effects,” Brouchkov recalled to The Siberian Times. “But it was quite clear for me that I did not catch flu for two years.”
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Since infecting himself with Bacillus F, Brouchkov has reported increased vitality and exceptional health, though he’s unsure about whether the experiment was entirely successful.
“Perhaps there were some side-effects, but there should be some special medical equipment to spot them,” he said. “Of course, such experiments need to be conducted in clinic, with the special equipment and statistics.”