The treatment is already used in several European countries for other conditions.
After extensive tests at the Hauts-de-France laboratory, the medication has been found to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2 - the virus that causes Covid-19 - with few, if any, side effects.
A member of the research team in Lille, who is also director of a company that specialises in the “repositioning” of existing medications from one use to another, told news source RTL: “We used this product, which is not found everywhere.
“The principal action happens mainly in the airways, and the lungs, which is where the virus is found at the beginning of the illness.”
He reiterated that the medication does not appear to cause many, if any, side effects.
Now, several hundred patients who have tested positive for Covid-19 are set to take part in a clinical trial of the drug, before it is hypothetically put on the market for this purpose.
Yet, the Institut Pasteur Lille has not yet revealed the name of its “miracle molecule”.
The researcher said: “We want to keep the name of this medicine secret to avoid [stoking] a parallel market, prescriptions going out-of-control, and to ensure stocks can be managed.”
Many researchers across the world - including at the Institut Pasteur in Paris - are working to find a vaccine for Covid-19, as well as an antiviral cure, but none have been found definitively yet.