Protozoans are unicellular eukaryotic organisms. They are responsible for several serious diseases in humans, including amoebiasis, Chagas' disease, African sleeping sickness, malaria, leishmaniasis, and toxoplasmosis. The type of immune response that develops to protozoan infection and the effectiveness of the response depend in part on the location of the parasite within the host. Many protozoans have life-cycle stages in which they are free within the bloodstream, and it is during these stages that humoral antibody is most effective. Many of these same pathogens are also capable of intracellular growth; during these stages, cell-mediated immune reactions are effective in host defense. In the development of vaccines for protozoan diseases, the branch of the immune system that is most likely to confer protection must be carefully considered.
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