Image by Image via Pixabay/Victor Tangermann

Health officials in the UK are desperately trying to locate an individual who was infected with a highly transmissible new variant of the coronavirus that originated in Brazil, CNBC reports.

Experts are worried that the variant, called P.1, spreads more rapidly than the original strains of the virus. But it's important to note that our understanding of the new variant is still limited. In one glaring example, we still don't know if or how it affects the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.

So far, six cases of the variant have been detected in the England and Scotland, according to CNBC. Two of the three cases in England were linked to a household that had a history of travel to Brazil. The third, who officials are currently trying to get in touch with, has yet to be traced.

Now, health officials are calling for the infected individual to get in touch with the government.

"The individual did not complete their test registration card so follow-up details are not available," the UK government said in a statement. "We are therefore asking for anyone who undertook a test on 12 or 13 February and hasn’t received their result or has an uncompleted test registration card, to call 119 in England or 0300 303 2713 in Scotland for assistance as soon as possible."

Travelers to the UK still need to quarantine at their homes for ten days, according to the latest guidelines.

Time is of the essence. As seen with previously identified variants, particularly B117 which originated in the UK, a new strain can spread with alarming speed.

"We need to find them as soon as possible," Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi told the BBC this morning.