Abstract The propagation of virus infection fronts has been typically modeled using a set of classical (noncohabitation) reaction–diffusion equations for interacting species. However, for some single-species systems it has been recently shown that noncohabitation reaction–diffusion equations may lead to unrealistic descriptions. We argue that previous virus infection models also have this limitation, because they assume that a virion can simultaneously reproduce inside a cell and diffuse away from it. For this reason, we build a several-species cohabitation model that does not have this limitation. Furthermore, we perform a sensitivity analysis for the most relevant parameters of the model, and we compare the predicted infection speed with observed data for two different strains of the T7 virus.