A VACCINE innovation centre is set to receive £93 million from the UK government, with plans to open next year.

The Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre is being seen as a key component in the UK’s plan to fight COVID-19 and is due to open one year ahead of schedule, in 2021.

It is believed that the facility, located on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxford, would be capable to manufacture enough vaccines to cover the UK population in six months.

The announcement comes as up to 20,000 people are asked to take part in a new government-funded study to further track the extent of the coronavirus spread across England, Scotland and Wales.

The research, which lasts for six months, will measure blood antibodies to help determine what proportion of the population has already had the infection, the duration of immunity after infection, and why the virus affects people differently.

It follows figures that were released by the NHS showing that there has been no increase in Covid-related deaths across Hampshire in the last 24 hours, as of Sunday at 2pm.

Data released by the NHS show that the death toll remains at 544, with no rise since the day before.

Each month, participants will now be asked to provide a sample of blood using a finger‐prick device, and to complete a short questionnaire about any relevant symptoms they may have experienced.

The de-identified samples will be returned to UK Biobank for processing before being sent for validated antibody testing at the University of Oxford.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said: “This UK Biobank study will build our understanding of the rate of COVID-19 infection in the general population and, importantly, it will add to our knowledge about the risk factors that mean the virus can affect individuals differently."

It is expected to help inform future government strategy on the ongoing response to the virus, including lockdown and social distancing measures.

The first results from initial participants are expected to be available in early June.

Death toll figures were released in Hampshire, which show that at UHS, the total number of deaths after testing positive for coronavirus is 169.

While at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, there has been no increase since Tuesday.

There has been a total of 148 deaths at the trust.

While there has been no increase in deaths at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, where 210 have died.

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust has recorded 17 patient deaths, which has seen no increase since Thursday.