Google's way of protecting Android devices from malicious applications is through its Google Play Protect antivirus, a function that is integrated in the so-called Google Play Services. Its task is to analyze the apps that are downloaded, being able to return to it at any time to run scans whenever we want. In fact, you may have seen a warning message when downloading an app at some point.
Google's protection against malware installation
We can now download Play Protect separately, independently from the Google Play Services app, but the truth is that we will not be able to do much with it. Mostly because it seems that the purpose of enabling this download independently has to do with facilitating the update of its functions, to make it more agile (so far this was given when the services app was also updated).
So you can download the APK if you want, but you will not be able to see or do much. The antivirus will continue to work as before, so do not worry, but if what you want is a more colorful option, you can continue to resort to apps that complement its functions, such as those offered by developers like Kaspersky, AVG or Norton, to mention some of the most prominent.