A quote from the open letter by the professor:
"This previously unknown organism is only visible under an electron microscope (36,000X), with an approximate size range equal to a medium size virus. It is able to reproduce and appears to be a micro-fungal-like organism. If so, it would be the first such micro-fungus ever identified. There is strong evidence that this infectious agent promotes diseases of both plants and mammals, which is very rare."
As a microbiologist there are a few things that stick out.
1. An organism that is the size of a virus that can reproduce. By definition a virus can not reproduce without a host. It physically can not fit the required DNA and proteins into its capsule.
2. The term "micro-fungus". By definition a fungus is a eukaryote, meaning it contains a nucleus. Any nucleus is going to be orders of magnitude larger than any virus.
Generally when a scientists presents information that does not fit into our understanding of life there are two possibilites. The first being that this is the discovery of the decade, a new domain of live never before seen that will change the way we define life. The second, and much more likely, is that the observations are not what they seem.
Personally I would be highly skeptical.
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