Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


Where did Omicron come from? Three key theories

Soweto residents walk past a mural educating people about the dangers of the coronavirus and mask wearing

People in Johannesburg, South Africa, near where cases of Omicron were first identified. Credit: Kim Ludbrook/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Get just this article for as long as you need it


Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Nature 602, 26-28 (2022)



  1. Martin, D. P. et al. Preprint at bioRxiv (2022).

  2. Viana, R. et al. Nature (2022).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Peacock, T. P. et al. Preprint at bioRxiv (2022).

  4. Cele, S. et al. Preprint at medRxiv (2021).

  5. Choi, B. et al. N. Engl. J. Med. 383, 2291–2293 (2020).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Bate, N. et al. Preprint at bioRxiv (2021).

  7. Cameroni, E. et al. Preprint at bioRxiv (2021).

  8. Wei, C. et al. J. Genet. Genom. 48, 1111–1121 (2021).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


Nature Careers


  • Head of Virology

    The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) is an executive agency of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, and works on behalf of the S

    Addlestone, Surrey

    Animal and Plant Health Agency

  • Research Group Heads, BeiGene Institute

    A cross-disciplinary research organization where cutting-edge science and technology drive the discovery of impactful Insights

    Pudong New Area, Shanghai

    BeiGene Institute

  • Nanjing Forestry University is globally seeking Metasequoia Scholars and Metasequoia Talents

    Located in the eastern part of Nanjing, Nanjing Forestry University is a comprehensive university.

    Nanjing, Jiangsu (CN)

    Nanjing Forestry University (NFU)

  • ADME Lead, Bio-Island

    DMPK/PD representative in multi-functional expert teams for the evaluation of new chemical entities

    Guangzhou, Guangdong, China

    BeiGene Ltd.

  • Sr Investigator & Chief

    The NIEHS seeks a Sr Investigator to serve as Chief of the Ctr for Climate Change & Health Research.

    Research Triangle Park, North Carolina

    National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences/NIH

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing


Quick links