Harder Introduces Bill to Support Innovations to Make Indoor Spaces Covid-Safe

September 18, 2020
Press Release
“X-Prize” Competition Would Incent Private-Sector Development of New Technologies to Clean Shared Air in Indoor Spaces

WASHINGTON – Today, Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) introduced the Safe Indoor Spaces Act to provide incentives to spur private-sector development of new technologies that can make indoor spaces safe to inhabit during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Although vaccines and treatments are in development, these remedies could take months to complete, achieve approval, and distribute. Rep. Harder’s bill would provide a parallel track for developing complementary methods for protecting people during the pandemic.

“We can’t put all of our eggs in one basket – we expect vaccines and treatments to be completed soon, but there are a lot of variables that could delay these medical solutions,” said Rep. Harder. “We want to get businesses back open and school in-person as soon as we can – this bill will unleash the American spirit of innovation to do just that. We’ve relied on big ideas throughout our history – this pandemic should be no different.”

The Safe Indoor Spaces Act would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to administer a $5 million one-time X-prize for innovation in making indoor environments safer for living and working during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

To be eligible for the prize, the winner must develop a technology that inactivates Coronavirus from the air, decreases the rate of airborne transmission, and must be cost-effective and scalable to 150,000 public buildings within six months. A panel of experts chosen by HHS would select the winner. The panel would include a public health expert, and educator, a representative from the small business community, and an expert in engineering in a relevant field.

Representative Harder is joined on the legislation by Representatives Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), David Trone (MD-06) , Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06), and Andre Carson (IN-07).