Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon tromped around the Caribbean and parts of Florida in a quest for the Fountain of Youth. Now, there’s a scientist in Russia who has injected himself with a 3.5 million year old bacteria in his quest for eternal life.
Anatoli Brouchkov isn’t just your average mad scientist, he’s the head of the Geocryology Department at Moscow State University. His job is dedicated to the study of frozen rock, soil, and underground masses – which later became a very distinct area of study in 1920s Russia.
After the discovery of Bacillus F, which managed to survive for millions of years, scientists decided to test it on fruit flies and mice to see what effects it would have. It did allow for older mice to reproduce after they had gone past their prime, and even showed regenerative properties in plants.
But, testing on lab animals wasn’t doing it for ol’ Brouchkov, so he decided to turn into Patient Zero and injected himself with Bacillus F. The results? He hasn’t had the flu in over two years.
It’s still not concrete evidence that this bacteria holds the key to everlasting youth, or even a new flu vaccine. Brouchkov actually hasn’t conducted a formal study on his personal trials, it was just something he up and decided to do one day because why the hell not. He claims he has been able to “work longer” and hasn’t been sick in a couple of years, but Brouchkov admits he isn’t even sure if there have been any adverse side effects.
In 2009 scientists found the bacteria during a dig at Mammoth Mountain in the Sakha Republic, a region in Northeast Russia. It’s home to the Yakuts, a Turkic people who have unintentionally been consuming Bacillus F for generations. Brouchkov suspects that as frost thaws, the bacteria from the mountain makes its way into local water supplies and is then ingested by the people around the region. Tests have confirmed trace amounts of the bacteria in the water, to which Brouchkov boldly claimed that the Yakits “even seem to live longer than some other nations” and was part of the reason he felt he was in no danger by injecting himself with the bacteria.