The virus, known as Parramatta River virus, was discovered in a joint research project by scientists at the University of Queensland (UQ) and the University of Sydney.
Dr Jody Hobson-Peters, from UQ’s Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre, said Parramatta River virus only infected mosquitoes and did not infect humans or animals.
“We believe that if a mosquito is infected with this virus … it may be harder for that mosquito to become infected with disease-causing viruses,” she said.
“[That means] we may be able to in fact stop disease transmission in its tracks.”
Parramatta River virus belongs to the same family of viruses as dengue fever and, according to Dr Hobson-Peters, is transferred through generations of mosquitoes “very, very effectively”.
“This is very unusual for this type of virus [and] we could, in fact, get lots of these mosquitoes infected with this virus,” she said.
To date, researchers have only found Parramatta River virus in Aedes vigilax mosquitoes, which are known to transmit Ross River virus.
However, they are looking at the possibility that it or similar viruses are carried by the Aedes egypti mosquito responsible for transmitting dengue.
“We’re still doing a lot of virus discovery at the moment and have a brand new system to discover all of these brand new viruses,” Dr Hobson-Peters said.
“If we can prove that this type of virus, along with other viruses we’re finding, does prevent mosquitoes being infected with dengue, perhaps in the future we may be able to stop it altogether.”
Dr Hobson-Peters said researchers also were learning more about the types of microbes found inside mosquitoes.