Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a fatal disease when acute and untreated. The treatment against this disease is long and presents toxicity and/or high costs. Moreover, parasite resistance has been increasing. Therefore, alternative control measures to avoid the spread of disease should be considered. It is accepted that the development of the T helper (Th)1 immune response, based on the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, is required for the control of parasites. Although recombinant protein-based vaccines have been tested against VL, they require supplementation with immune adjuvants. In addition, there is a scarcity of studies that comparatively evaluate the efficacy of the immunogens when administered by different delivery systems in mammalian hosts. In the present study, a Leishmania hypothetical protein, LiHyR, was cloned and evaluated by immunization as a plasmid deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) vaccine or in a recombinant format plus saponin against Leishmania infantum infection. Result showed that both vaccination regimens induced a Th1 cell-based immunity, since high levels of interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), interleukin (IL)-2, IL-12, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) were found, and were associated with the low production of IL-4, IL-10, and anti-parasite immunoglobulin (IgG)1 isotype. In addition, significant reductions in the parasite load were found in the evaluated organs of the DNA LiHyR or rLiHyR/saponin-vaccinated animals. No significant difference was achieved between groups vaccinated with DNA or the recombinant protein. The antigen proved to be also immunogenic in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) collected from healthy subjects and from untreated and treated VL patients. A higher IgG2 isotype was also found in sera samples of these subjects, thus demonstrating its possible use as a human vaccine. This study demonstrates the protective efficacy of a new Leishmania protein against VL, when it is administered as a DNA vaccine or a recombinant protein plus saponin, and points out its use as a human vaccine against disease.