Do insect-specific flaviviruses regulate the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases in Australia? (2012–2014)
Flaviviruses cause several mosquito-borne diseases of humans and animals in Australia including dengue and Japanese encephalitis. These viruses rely on replication in both mosquito and vertebrate hosts for transmission. In 2010 we discovered in mosquitoes the first flaviviruses in Australia that do not replicate in vertebrates cells. These new viruses are maintained in nature by an unknown mechanism. Furthermore, preliminary evidence that these mosquito-specific viruses can regulate the transmission of mosquito-borne viral diseases implicates them as natural control agents. We will investigate the mechanisms of how these viruses are circulated in nature and how they regulate the transmission of pathogenic flaviviruses.