UPDATE 1-LabCorp launches new neutralizing antibody test for COVID-19

(Adds details on the test, its availability)

June 25 (Reuters) - LabCorp said on Thursday it has launched a new test that could assess the capacity of antibodies in patient plasma to inhibit the novel coronavirus.

Information from the test about the virus-fighting ability of antibodies could be used in the development of COVID-19 vaccines, the company said.

The test, called the neutralizing antibody test, would be available to biopharmaceutical companies, hospitals, blood banks and other blood plasma-screening facilities.

Neutralizing antibodies are associated with protective immunity against re-infection for many infectious pathogens, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The test could be used in screening serum collected from recovered COVID-19 patients for preventive and therapeutic use, the company said.

The company made its COVID-19 tests available at workplaces last month and it also provides lab tests and antibody blood tests that can tell whether a person has ever been infected, as well as kits that allow people to mail in their own nasal swab samples collected at home.

Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni