Eradicating coronavirus in Australia is conceivably possible providing the country goes into lockdown to stop superspreaders perpetuating the illness, a university mathematician says.

Medical practitioner and mathematician Dr David Kault says research shows eliminating superspreaders is the key to winning the war against COVID-19.

The adjunct senior lecturer at Queensland’s James Cook University says Australia has a 50-50 proposition of eliminating the disease, but that any win comes with personal and financial sacrifice.

Dr Kault said a policy of suppression without elimination leads to an eventual increase in infections, which is what is occurring in New South Wales and Victoria.

“We are seeing the consequences of opening up too soon,” he said.

“We can still eliminate it, but we need to lockdown again now. We can’t get complacent because numbers are low. Mathematically, going the extra mile to lock down for a few extra weeks is worth it.

“Elimination on an island continent is possible.”

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He said a lockdown would almost certainly smother superspreaders who are more infectious than others.

However, it’s difficult to determine who they are and shutting down the country for a couple of weeks would eliminate their potency.

“Superspreaders are the key. We know there are occasional superspreaders who pass the disease on to many others, which means there are also people who pass the disease on to no one,” he said.

“The majority of infectious people don’t spread it to others and just 20 per cent account for 90 per cent of all subsequent infections.”

AAP