Fiona Allan

Fiona Allan
Natural History Museum, London · Department of Life Sciences

About

62
Publications
14,034
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1,058
Citations
Citations since 2017
48 Research Items
946 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023050100150200250
2017201820192020202120222023050100150200250
2017201820192020202120222023050100150200250

Publications

Publications (62)
Article
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Schistosomiasis, also known as bilharzia or snail fever, is a debilitating neglected tropical disease (NTD), caused by parasitic trematode flatworms of the genus Schistosoma , that has an annual mortality rate of 280,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa alone. Schistosomiasis is transmitted via contact with water bodies that are home to the intermediat...
Article
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Background: The Zanzibar Archipelago (Pemba and Unguja islands) is targeted for the elimination of human urogenital schistosomiasis caused by infection with Schistosoma haematobium where the intermediate snail host is Bulinus globosus. Following multiple studies, it has remained unclear if B. nasutus (a snail species that occupies geographically d...
Preprint
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The World Health Organization revised NTD Roadmap and its newly launched Guidelines target elimination of schistosomiasis as a public health problem in all endemic areas by 2030. Key to meeting this goal is elucidating how selective pressures imposed by interventions shape parasite populations. Our aim was to identify any differential impact of a u...
Article
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The HIV-1 Envelope glycoprotein (Env) is the sole target for broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs). Env is heavily glycosylated with host-derived N-glycans, and many bnAbs bind to, or are dependent upon, Env glycans for neutralization. Although glycan-binding bnAbs are frequently detected in HIV-infected individuals, attempts to elicit them have...
Article
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The development of water management infrastructures, such as dams and canals, are important components of society’s response to feed a growing human population and to fight climate change. Yet, these changes in land use can also increase the transmission risk for waterborne diseases. Transmission risk associated with artificial reservoirs has been...
Article
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Schistosoma mansoni, a snail‐borne, blood fluke that infects humans, was introduced into the Americas from Africa during the Trans‐Atlantic slave trade. As this parasite shows strong specificity to the snail intermediate host, we expected that adaptation to S. American Biomphalaria spp. snails would result in population bottlenecks and strong signa...
Article
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Schistosomiasis remains a public health concern across sub-Saharan Africa; current control programmes rely on accurate mapping and high mass drug administration (MDA) coverage to attempt disease elimination. Inter-species hybridisation can occur between certain species, changing epidemiological dynamics within endemic regions, which has the potenti...
Preprint
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Populations within schistosomiasis control areas, especially those in Africa, are recommended to receive regular mass drug administration (MDA) with praziquantel (PZQ) as the main strategy for controlling the disease. The impact of PZQ treatment on schistosome genetics remains poorly understood, and is limited by a lack of high-resolution genetic d...
Article
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Background: Researching a water-borne disease in the middle of the Sahara desert might not seem the most relevant concern. However, nomadic Sahelian pastoralists health concerns regarding their livestock and anecdotal reports about trematode infections of Fasciola spp. and Schistosoma spp. in desert-raised animals justified an exploratory study fo...
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Mass drug administration with praziquantel (PZQ) monotherapy is considered the mainstay for control and elimination of the parasites causing schistosomiasis in humans. This drug shows imperfect cure rates in the field, and parasites showing reduced PZQ response can be selected in the laboratory, but the extent of resistance in Schistosoma mansoni p...
Preprint
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Background: Researching a water-borne disease in the middle of the Sahara desert might not seem the most relevant concern. However, nomadic Sahelian pastoralist’s health concerns regarding their livestock and anecdotal reports about trematode infections of Fasciola spp and Schistosoma spp in desert-raised animals justified an exploratory study focu...
Article
Full-text available
Schistosomiasis is a water-based neglected tropical disease that is prevalent in over 78 countries. It affects communities that are reliant on freshwater bodies contaminated with Schistosome cercariae for their daily water activities. Whilst treatment with the drug praziquantel is relatively effective, it does not prevent reinfection. One option fo...
Article
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Control and elimination of the parasitic disease schistosomiasis relies on mass administration of praziquantel. Whilst these programmes reduce infection prevalence and intensity, their impact on parasite transmission and evolution is poorly understood. Here we examine the genomic impact of repeated mass drug administration on Schistosoma mansoni po...
Article
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Background: Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease that is transmitted by skin contact with waterborne schistosome cercariae. Mass drug administration with praziquantel is an effective control method, but it cannot prevent reinfection if contact with cercariae infested water continues. Providing safe water for contact activities such as laundry an...
Preprint
Full-text available
Mass treatment with praziquantel (PZQ) monotherapy is the mainstay for schistosome treatment. This drug shows imperfect cure rates in the field and parasites showing reduced response to PZQ can be selected in the laboratory, but the extent of resistance in Schistosoma mansoni populations is unknown. We examined the genetic basis of variation in PZQ...
Article
Proteases are multi-functional proteolytic enzymes that have complex roles in human health and disease. Therefore, the development of protease biosensors can be beneficial to global health applications. To this end, we developed Advanced proteoLytic detector PolyHydroxyAlkanoates (AL-PHA) beads – a library of over 20 low-cost, biodegradable, biopla...
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Hybridization is a fascinating evolutionary phenomenon that raises the question of how species maintain their integrity. Inter-species hybridization occurs between certain Schistosoma species that can cause important public health and veterinary issues. In particular hybrids between Schistosoma haematobium and S. bovis associated with humans and an...
Article
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Accurate diagnosis of urogenital schistosomiasis is crucial for disease surveillance and control. Routine diagnostic methods, however, lack sensitivity when assessing patients with low levels of infection still able to maintain pathogen transmission. Therefore, there is a need for highly sensitive diagnostic tools that can be used at the point-of-c...
Article
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Schistosomiasis, a neglected tropical disease of medical and veterinary importance, transmitted through specific freshwater snail intermediate hosts, is targeted for elimination in several endemic regions in sub-Saharan Africa. Multidisciplinary methods are required for both human and environmental diagnostics to certify schistosomiasis elimination...
Article
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Background: Efforts to control and eliminate schistosomiasis have accelerated over the past decade. As parasite burden, associated morbidity and egg excretion decrease, diagnosis with standard parasitological methods becomes harder. We assessed the robustness and performance of a real-time PCR (qPCR) approach in comparison with urine filtration mi...
Article
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Background Schistosomiasis is a water-based disease acquired through contact with cercaria-infested water. Communities living in endemic regions often rely on parasite-contaminated freshwater bodies for their daily water contact activities, resulting in recurring schistosomiasis infection. In such instances, water treatment can provide safe water o...
Article
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The fresh water snail Biomphalaria pfeifferi is the intermediate host for Schistosoma mansoni, which causes human intestinal schistosomiasis in Zimbabwe. Despite the medical importance of this intermediate host, there are no current data on its molecular characterization in Zimbabwe. In 2016, human water contact sites were identified in four commun...
Preprint
Full-text available
Proteases are multi-functional, proteolytic enzymes that have complex roles in human health and disease. Detecting the activities of proteases can lead to important insights into communicable and non-communicable diseases. Therefore, the development of protease detection strategies can be beneficial to an array of global health applications. To thi...
Article
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Background: Urogenital schistosomiasis, caused by infection with Schistosoma haematobium, is endemic in Niger but complicated by the presence of Schistosoma bovis, Schistosoma curassoni and S. haematobium group hybrids along with various Bulinus snail intermediate host species. Establishing the schistosomes and snails involved in transmission aids...
Article
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Analyses of the population genetic structure of schistosomes under the "Schistosomiasis Consortium for Operational Research and Evaluation" (SCORE) contrasting treatment pressure scenarios in Tanzania, Niger, and Zanzibar were performed to provide supplementary critical information with which to evaluate the impact of these large-scale control acti...
Article
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As part of its diverse portfolio, the Schistosomiasis Consortium for Operational Research and Evaluation (SCORE) included two cluster-randomized trials evaluating interventions that could potentially lead to interruption of schistosomiasis transmission (elimination) in areas of Africa with low prevalence and intensity of infection. These studies, c...
Article
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The Schistosomiasis Consortium for Operational Research and Evaluation (SCORE) was created in 2008 to answer questions of importance to program managers working to reduce the burden of schistosomiasis in Africa. In the past, intermediate host snail monitoring and control was an important part of integrated schistosomiasis control. However, in Afric...
Article
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Background Schistosome cercariae are the human-infectious stage of the Schistosoma parasite]. They are shed by snail intermediate hosts living in freshwater, and penetrate the skin of the human host to develop into schistosomes, resulting in schistosomiasis infection. Water treatment (e.g. filtration or chlorination) is one way of cutting disease t...
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Background: Bulinus species are freshwater snails that transmit the parasitic trematode Schistosoma haematobium. Despite their importance, the diversity of these intermediate host snails and their evolutionary history is still unclear in Zimbabwe. Bulinus globosus and B. truncatus collected from a urogenital schistosomiasis endemic region in the M...
Article
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Background: Accurate diagnosis of urogenital schistosomiasis is vital for surveillance and control programmes. While a number of diagnostic techniques are available there is a need for simple, rapid and highly sensitive point-of-need (PON) tests in areas where infection prevalence and intensity are low. Recombinase Polymerase Amplification (RPA) i...
Article
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Recently, the World Health Organization recognized that efforts to interrupt schistosomiasis transmission through mass drug administration have been ineffective in some regions; one of their new recommended strategies for global schistosomiasis control emphasizes targeting the freshwater snails that transmit schistosome parasites. We sought to iden...
Article
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Background: Sound knowledge of the abundance and distribution of intermediate host snails is key to understanding schistosomiasis transmission and to inform effective interventions in endemic areas. Methods: A longitudinal field survey of freshwater snails of biomedical importance was undertaken in the Niger River Valley (NRV) between July 2011...
Article
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Whole-genome sequencing is being rapidly applied to the study of helminth genomes, including de novo genome assembly, population genetics, and diagnostic applications. Although late-stage juvenile and adult parasites typically produce sufficient DNA for molecular analyses, these parasitic stages are almost always inaccessible in the live host; imma...
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Introgression among parasite species has the potential to transfer traits of biomedical importance across species boundaries. The parasitic blood fluke Schistosoma haematobium causes urogenital schistosomiasis in humans across sub-Saharan Africa. Hybridization with other schistosome species is assumed to occur commonly, because genetic crosses betw...
Article
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Background Accurate identification of schistosome species infecting intermediate host snails is important for understanding parasite transmission, schistosomiasis control and elimination. Cercariae emerging from infected snails cannot be precisely identified morphologically to the species level. We used molecular tools to clarify the distribution o...
Preprint
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The parasitic blood fluke Schistosoma haematobium causes urogenital schistosomiasis in humans and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality across sub-Saharan Africa. S. haematobium hybridizes with livestock schistosomes, including S. bovis , however the frequency, direction, age and genomic consequences of hybridization are unknown. We sequenced...
Article
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Parasitic nematodes (roundworms) and platyhelminths (flatworms) cause debilitating chronic infections of humans and animals, decimate crop production and are a major impediment to socioeconomic development. Here we report a broad comparative study of 81 genomes of parasitic and non-parasitic worms. We have identified gene family births and hundreds...
Article
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Occurrence of Schistosoma bovis on Pemba Island, Zanzibar: implications for urogenital schistosomiasis transmission monitoring - CORRIGENDUM - Tom Pennance, Shaali M. Ame, Amour Khamis Amour, Khamis Rashid Suleiman, Fiona Allan, David Rollinson, Bonnie L. Webster
Article
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The causative agent of urogenital schistosomiasis, Schistosoma haematobium , was thought to be the only schistosome species transmitted through Bulinus snails on Unguja and Pemba Island (Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania). For insights into the environmental risk of S. haematobium transmission on Pemba Island, malacological surveys collecting B...
Article
The medically important freshwater snail Physa acuta is highly invasive and has been reported in several freshwater environments across Africa. To identify species and provide initial insights into the origins of P. acuta into African fresh water environments standard molecular barcoding analyses, using the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subuni...
Article
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Adult schistosomes live in the blood vessels and cannot easily be sampled from humans, so archived miracidia larvae hatched from eggs expelled in feces or urine are commonly used for population genetic studies. Large collections of archived miracidia on FTA cards are now available through the S chistosomiasis C ollection a t the N atural History Mu...
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Background: To achieve a world free of schistosomiasis, the objective is to scale up control and elimination efforts in all endemic countries. Where interruption of transmission is considered feasible, countries are encouraged to implement a comprehensive intervention package, including preventive chemotherapy, information, education and communica...
Article
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Background This study was designed to determine the distribution and identity of potential intermediate snail hosts of Schistosoma spp. in Bengo, Luanda, Kwanza Norte and Malanje Provinces in north-western Angola. This is an area where infection with Schistosoma haematobium, causing urogenital schistosomiasis, is common but little is yet known abou...
Article
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Background: Schistosomiasis is hyper-endemic in the Lake Victoria basin; with intestinal schistosomiasis plaguing communities adjacent to the lake, where the intermediate host snails live. The two intermediate host species of Schistosoma mansoni in the Mwanza region are Biomphalaria sudanica, found on the banks of the lakes, and B. choanomphala, f...
Article
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Schistosoma mansoni is a parasitic fluke that infects millions of people in the developing world. This study presents the first application of population genomics to S. mansoni based on high-coverage resequencing data from 10 global isolates and an isolate of the closely-related Schistosoma rodhaini, which infects rodents. Using population genetic...
Article
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Background: Human urogenital schistosomiasis caused by Schistosoma haematobium is widely distributed across Africa and is increasingly targeted for control and regional elimination. The development of new high-throughput, cost-effective molecular tools and approaches are needed to monitor and evaluate the impact of control programs on the parasite...
Article
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There is a paucity of epidemiological and malacological data pertaining to schistosomiasis in Chad. In view of a recently articulated elimination agenda, a deeper understanding of the spatio-temporal distribution of schistosomiasis intermediate host snails is pivotal. We conducted cross-sectional malacological surveys during the dry season (April/M...
Article
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SUMMARY Within the World Health Organization 2012-2020 roadmap for control and elimination of schistosomiasis, the scale-up of mass drug administration with praziquantel is set to change the epidemiological landscape across Africa and Arabia. Central in measuring progress is renewed emphasis upon diagnostics which operate at individual, community a...
Article
Full-text available
Within the World Health Organization 2012-2020 roadmap for control and elimination of schistosomiasis, the scale-up of mass drug administration with praziquantel is set to change the epidemiological landscape across Africa and Arabia. Central in measuring progress is renewed emphasis upon diagnostics which operate at individual, community and envir...
Article
Several DNA probes were designed for use in real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays to target sequence variation within the ribosomal intergenic spacer (IGS) of schistosomes. A sub-section of the IGS (∼300bp) was amplified, with cross-specific primers, after which group-specific fluorescent, locked nucleic acid probes were assessed for the...
Article
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Background: Gaining and sustaining control of schistosomiasis and, whenever feasible, achieving local elimination are the year 2020 targets set by the World Health Organization. In Zanzibar, various institutions and stakeholders have joined forces to eliminate urogenital schistosomiasis within 5 years. We report baseline findings before the onset...
Article
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Urogenital schistosomiasis is an important public health issue in Zanzibar. Transmission of the parasite to the human population is related to the distribution of the intermediate snail host, Bulinus globosus. We measured B. globosus abundance and Schistosoma haematobium prevalence within snails in a series of naturally occurring populations and co...
Article
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Background The Natural History Museum (NHM) is developing a repository for schistosomiasis-related material, the Schistosomiasis Collection at NHM (SCAN) as part of its existing Wolfson Wellcome Biomedical Laboratory (WWBL). This is timely because a major research and evaluation effort to understand control and move towards elimination of schistoso...