It was 2050 when scientists discovered a pill that can temporarily "pause" the change of a condition. After taking it orally, the condition of the patient stays unchanged for some time. Their situation doesn't worsen nor does it gets better on its own. It provides more time for emergency situations, providing 5 more minutes on average for doctors to react for some life threatening situations and sometimes an hour in less severe cases.

The pill is quite expensive to produce (about 10000 2022's US dollars per pill), therefore limited tests have been done, espencially when taking it continuously. However, some celebrities have been taking it for several years everyday in hope of being young and healthy forever. So far, the public has seen no change of their appearance nor their health.

There have been recorded incidents of children stealing these pills. Some confess they want their grandparents with Alzheimer's to remember their names a day longer. Some say they don't want to grow up.

Unfortunately, as every good technology did, this pill has been heavily abused. Due to its relatively taste/odorless nature, it can be served to targets who are already wounded as a mean to continue their suffering without their notice by spraying the powder into spicy foods. Fatally wounded targets just suffer for longer before they die. Targets with painful but nonfatal wounds are often kept in their wounded state indefinitely by being served with this type of food everyday. It is very hard to prove this pill was used by measures like blood tests, urines after the target is released, so it has been wildly abused by countless organizations, underground or not.

Question: Is the pill satisfying the above properties (especially the bold parts) possible to develop within the specified timeframe? (i.e: Are similar efforts already underway?)

You are free to give the pill to the person using other means in life threatening cases, but it has to work orally for other cases.

You are free to give the pill a limit as to how long it can extend lifespan but it has to be more than 200 years.

Edit: Magic is not allowed.

Edit 2:

  1. For making the fatally wounded live longer, providing blood externally is allowed.

  2. Organizations using this pill to keep targets in a wounded state are smart enough to not administer it in the final days of keeping the target, so you can assume it has enough time to disappear. As long as it doesn't change the body permanently, it is fine.

  3. It doesn't prevent infection, burns, or anything like that. It would slow down infections but do nothing if the patient is contacting fire. Even worse, it slows down healing sometimes to a halt in nonfatal cases of burning.

If this is still too magical, limiting it to physical wounds and aging (which doesn't need to be completely stopped, see above) is okay, too. I'll just have to write the story around that limitation.

The reason why I required this to be available in 2050 is to make sure we have a society that is similar to the society we have now, in order to demonstrate the socioeconomical effect. If there is a way of demonstrating the similarity of the society to our society, the time requirement can be void.

  • $\begingroup$ If I was a chemist working on such thing I would not say it to a random stranger on the internet. What is your actual worldbuilding problem? $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Jan 12, 2022 at 8:21
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    $\begingroup$ possible to develop within the specified timeframe - i'd say a pill like this is completely impossible without using magic. $\endgroup$ Jan 12, 2022 at 8:21
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    $\begingroup$ A pill which works both as a sort of emergency haemostatic (in order to allow "fatally wounded targets just suffer for longer before they die") and as a method of mitigating memory loss due to Alzheimer's? Not likely at all. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jan 12, 2022 at 8:25
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    $\begingroup$ Another issue is the undetectability. We can only assume that it's identical to something already present in the body - and nothing in the body approaches doing what you're asking. It's an instance of unobtanium, nothing wrong with that , but trying to explain the actual science behind something that's non-real is rather an opportunity for humour and conceit in the writing than technical brilliance. $\endgroup$ Jan 12, 2022 at 9:33
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    $\begingroup$ The title of the question says "a condition", but the body of the question implies that it prevents all healing, all worsening, all infection, even senescence. Presumably it also magically stops other kinds of cellular damage accruing too, like burns. If I take it, would I become fireproof? Does it prevent hypoxic damage? Does that make me undrownable, too? Can I get a volcano hottub? $\endgroup$ Jan 12, 2022 at 10:20

3 Answers 3


Nanobots administered via pill

These nanobots go through a process that may take some time to get to work, but do amazing things once its operating correctly. The concept is this is administered to a healthy person to ensure continued health.

Upon first dose, the nanobots check for the presence on the core structure, if not present, they are programmed to create it. The core structure is a small AI core that is capable of intelligent learning. This structure is built in some area of the body which wont cause much of a disturbance to the rest of the body. All nanobots are programmed to follow the instructions of and feed information to the core structure.

Next, the AI will begin to map the body and establish the "status quo" it is required to maintain. Initially, this will take a good amount of time, but as the nanobot population increases (due to additional doses) and the AI learns, the mapping progress rapidly increases.

The AI and nanobots continuously map the body, looking for changes. Unfortunately, due to this being a first gen technology, the AI is pretty dumb. It does not care if a cancer cell should be there or not. If it was there during the initial mapping and not during subsequent mapping, (maybe due to the body eliminating it) the nanobots would then construct the missing cancer cell. The nanobots use materials in-situ to "repair" damages it notes.

Due to the nanobots being very advanced machines, made of materials not found in the human body, they need to be replaced constantly (daily doses.) otherwise, due to wear and tear and natural biological elimination, they need to be replaced constantly.

Now, due to technological issues, it cannot really do much in the lines of DNA and gene editing, thus cant really assist with the aging process. basically, these nanobots can assist in the repair (or damage) cells, but really cannot create them.

  • $\begingroup$ I feel like an issue of the AI being dumb is going to be solved pretty quickly, given the usefulness of the pill. "some celebrities have been taking it for several years" $\endgroup$
    – Joe
    Jan 12, 2022 at 23:20
  • $\begingroup$ Dumb is a relative term compared to human intelligence. Present technology, AI is pretty dumb if you matched it up to a human in a game of wits. However, we do have AIs doing pretty amazing things within the scope of their programming, such as Googles search algorithms. In the future, this will change, but will be a long and slow process to get their. These scientists probably want to cash in on their tech within their life time so they put out a product, expecting to patch the AI as time goes on to improve it $\endgroup$
    – Sonvar
    Jan 13, 2022 at 14:17
  • $\begingroup$ Wait, does this mean the person cannot preserve new memories over time? $\endgroup$
    – Joe
    Jan 14, 2022 at 9:05
  • $\begingroup$ hmmm.... that may be true. If you form a new neuro connection in the brain, the AI may see that as an anomoly. horrible side effects. $\endgroup$
    – Sonvar
    Jan 14, 2022 at 14:30

It isn't possible because injuries have enormously different causes.

When you are stabbed, you die of bloodloss. The pill would need to stop you bleeding, and stop you regenerating blood, and stop a number of organs from dying of lack of oxygen.

Alzheimers is caused by misfolded proteins in the brain causing damage. Stopping bleeding and blood regeneration and a lack of oxygen causing damage to organs isn't gonna do anything.

Aging is caused by damage from sugar, telomere shortening, and oxidative damage.

Humans don't have a static health thing that you can pause. That's the domain of magic.

A universal healing pill that could prevent all injuries would be an enormous scientific achievement, and isn't realistically gonna be achieved in 30 years. It's even harder since you want it to be undetectable, so it can't simply be some mass genetically engineered bacteria that floods your blood stream.

No single sneaky molecule is gonna do all that.

To make it work, have it be good bacteria.

You could package a lot of life saving stuff into a genetically engineered bacteria. Fast clotting? Sure, bacteria can form matts across wounds. Some genetic treatments to boost lifespan? Quite possible.

Presumably rather than replicating it uses some rare elements that aren't present in the body, so you need regular new doses.

But it can't be undetectable. Bacteria are easy to see with a microscope, and it's easy to separate blood to find other parasites like viruses. Undetectable things don't cure everything.

The bacteria eat and consume normal clotting factors and other healing chemicals, supplanting the body's normal healing systems.

  • $\begingroup$ The undetectability requirement is quite loose. As long as the pill does not make permanent changes, it should be fine. You can see my edit of the question. Also, since a lot people have complained (I really didn't know it would be this difficult), I have given alternative ways to satisfy some requirements. Hopefully this would be more realistic. The problem with "good bacteria", is that it doesn't prevent healing. Not sure what could be done to deal with that. $\endgroup$
    – Joe
    Jan 12, 2022 at 23:28
  • $\begingroup$ I added how it suppresses healing. They disable it, presumably so they can do their work more effectively. $\endgroup$
    – Nepene Nep
    Jan 12, 2022 at 23:41
  • $\begingroup$ Problem with using some rare elements that aren't present in the body is that those elements would leave traces. That counts as "permanently altering the body". $\endgroup$
    – Joe
    Jan 13, 2022 at 4:47
  • $\begingroup$ Nanobots or bacteria also leave traces, even if they die. That's an inherent risk with complex lifeforms. Alive or dead, they produce all sorts of detritus which is easily detected with a quick immune swab. $\endgroup$
    – Nepene Nep
    Jan 13, 2022 at 8:52
  • $\begingroup$ Is there a way to make sure it doesn't? What about an antidote that can elimate all traces, administered just before release of the target? $\endgroup$
    – Joe
    Jan 14, 2022 at 9:08

It can't exist, life is a process not a state.

The only way to halt aging and all forms of injury is stop stop all chemical reactions, which is instantly fatal because a living human is nothing but trillions of competing chemical reactions, Many of which need to keep running to fight entropy. It is like asking if you can freeze a tornado in place and still have it be a tornado when you unfreeze it, freezing it has stopped the conditions that let it keep existing.

Many forms of injury are made worse by some normal reactions running without other ones, thats why you have to stop all of them. Even using super advanced magic-esc nanotechnology you would need a colony of nanomachines that understand all that chemistry, monitors it in real time, and can alter it in real-time, which is beyond the computing power of the species right now.

  • $\begingroup$ Even with these alternate requirements in the edits, it still can't be real? $\endgroup$
    – Joe
    Jan 13, 2022 at 4:50
  • $\begingroup$ No, with sufficient technology (like 100year out or more) you might have a tank you could dunk them in full of nanites but that would not just pause it it would fix wounds. the problem is the "any injury or condition" part, that requires tech so advanced it can manipulate the body at the atomic level, but if it can do that it can rebuild the body at the atomic level too. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jan 13, 2022 at 21:58

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