China has yet to detect any dangerous COVID-19 mutations in the six weeks since the virus was unleashed on the country’s 1.4 billion people after the abandonment of the rigid curbs that held the pathogen largely at bay.

That’s bolstering hope that a new variant after omicron — one that could set the world back in its attempts to move past the pandemic — is less likely to emerge, even as China contends with an explosive wave.

It’s a stark contrast to more than a year ago, the last time when the World Health Organization christened a new strain. Back then, concerns were high that the Greek alphabet might be exhausted soon. There’s now little room left in some of the virus’ key architecture for any major mutations, according to one of China’s top scientific advisers.